Building Nehemiah's Wall: The North Minneapolis Faith Community's Role in the Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence


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Abstract

African American women who are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) often rely on faith when exposed to IPV; however, the role of the faith community in the lives of IPV victims is less clear. This study uses a community-based approach to examine the role of the faith community in addressing IPV in heterosexual relationships in North Minneapolis where rates of poverty and IPV among African Americans are disproportionately high compared to other cities in Minnesota. Five focus group discussions (FGDs) were held with 34 lay and secular leaders of mixed genders in the North Minneapolis community. FGDs were evaluated using a grounded theory method of analysis. Discussions revealed that some faith leaders effectively identified IPV as a community issue and intervened but that many remained silent or were not well trained to address the issue safely. Faith-based solutions were identified to address IPV in the African American community and included the faith community speaking openly about IPV, developing programs for unmarried and adolescent couples, and coordinating services with secular IPV support organizations.

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