Supporting Women Wishing to Retain or Relinquish Christian Faith Following Religious Trauma

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Kreil, Codi
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Faith and religious practice or participation are often standard components of an individual's identity and worldview. Religious beliefs and communities offer outlets for socialization, a positive sense of self-worth, and a way to externalize and make meaning of events. However, when trauma occurs, or there is a clashing of beliefs with one's identity and life choices, many will experience confusion, isolation, shame, anger, and even various forms of abuse. Religious Trauma (RT) is the result of chronic abuse inflicted by damaging activity and doctrine, or the impact of severing connection with one's beliefs of faith communities. This paper is a review of available literature highlighting the experience of RT for women in the context of Evangelicalism who are now navigating what to do with their faith. It also explores the protective factors of faith and the intersection of RT and resilience in this population. Several articles and supplemental works were coded for emerging themes. Some of these themes included attachment to God and church congregations functioning human attachments, the oppressive view of women, movements such as "purity culture" which postured women as sexually responsible, and patriarchy. Moving towards efforts to reconcile beliefs and identity, this review also provides research evidencing best practices for treating RT, and several areas for future research that might help future practitioners foster healing in women who have experienced RT.
religious trauma, purity culture, deconstruction, religious resilience
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States, openAccess