The current working paper is informed by previous ethnographic investigations of conjugal abuse in the Ethiopian Orthodox community in Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. The research evidenced the importance of religious beliefs and experience in understanding the life of the laity, intersections with gender parameters and norms, and complex associations with the continuation and deterrence of conjugal abuse in this religious society. The study revealed important tensions between theological and folklore understandings, with ‘faith’ being juxtaposed in complex ways to ‘culture’ to preserve or discontinue pernicious behaviour and norms associated with conjugal abuse. The current working paper aims to improve understanding among Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahәdo Church clergy and theologians, state agents, and non-governmental domestic violence stakeholders about the complex role of religious beliefs and experience in the married lives of the laity, about the clergy’s approaches to mediation in marital conflict, and to suggest how theology and pastoral interventions may be appropriately engaged in alleviating the problem.
Read the Working Paper in Amharic