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Violence Against Women

"A just society can become a reality only when it is based on the respect of the transcendent dignity of the human person."

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on Love and the Family, 2016

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to His Holiness John Paul II, 2004

Mulieris Dignitatem, John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women, 1988


Amoris Laetitia, USCCB Website

Catholic Response to Sexual and Domestic Violence and Abuse: A report compiled by the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, USCCB, 2018

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 31, 2004

When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence against Women, USCCB, 1992


Femicide is a Crime Against Humanity, Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, September 2019

Mexico’s Bishops Call for End to Violence Against Women, Zenit, August 2019



Adams, Carol J., and Marie M. Fortune. Violence against Women and Children: A Christian Theological Sourcebook. New York: Continuum, 1995.

Anderson, Kim. Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2018.

Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Cooper-White, Pamela. The Cry of Tamar: Violence against Women and the Church's Response. 2nd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

Gerhardt, Elizabeth L. The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence against Women and Girls. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Johnson, Andy J. Religion and Men's Violence Against Women. New York, NY: Springer New York: Imprint: Springer, 2015.

O’Sullivan, Michael. How Roman Catholic Theology Can Transform Male Violence against Women: Explaining the Role of Religion in Shaping Cultural Assumptions About Gender. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.

Renzetti, Claire M., Jeffrey L. Edleson, and Raquel Kennedy Bergen. Sourcebook On Violence against Women. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2011.

Sigal, Janet., and Florence Denmark. Violence against Girls and Women: International Perspectives. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, An Imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013.



Bennett, Cheryl Redhorse.  “Another Type of Hate Crime: Violence Against American Indian Women in Reservation Border Towns.” Crime and Social Justice in Indian Country, edited by Marianne O. Nielsen and Karen Jarratt-Snider, 21-38.  Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2018.

Galluccio, Pauline. “Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women By Elaine Storkey, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 2015. 276pp. ISBN 978‐0‐281‐07508‐9 (Pbk), £9.99.” Child Abuse Review 28, no. 1 (2019): 88.

García-Moreno, Claudia. "Addressing Violence against Women: A Call to Action." Lancet, The 385, no. 9978 (2015): 1685-1695.

Garcia-Moreno, Claudia. "Violence against Women." Science 310, no. 5752 (2005): 1282-1283.

Healey, Justin. Violence against Women. Thirroul, N.S.W.: The Spinney Press.

Merino, Nol︠. Violence against Women. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Greenhaven Press, A part of Gale, Cengage Learning.

Wilkinson, A. "Violence against Women." CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION JOURNAL 185, no. 12 (2013): E580.





Catholics Must Help Stem the Scourge of Domestic Violence, Catholic Outlook, November 2018

The Missing Women You Don't Hear About: How the Media Fails Indigenous communities, Salon, Lauren Chief Elk, February 14, 2014

Violence Against Women, Amnesty International, a booklet designed to help dismantle the stereotyping and discrimination which leads to violence against women

Gender-Based Violence (Violence Against Women and Girls), World Bank, September 2019

Violence Against Women and Girls: Enough is Enough, Oxfam International

What the Catholic Church Teaches About Domestic Violence, Catholics for Family Peace

World Health Organization: Violence Against Women, November 2017




Equality and difference willed by God

369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.

370 In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.241


"Each for the other" - "A unity in two"

371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. The Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him."242 None of the animals can be man's partner.243 The woman God "fashions" from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."244 Man discovers woman as another "I", sharing the same humanity.

372 Man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh",245 they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator's work.247

373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth248 as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists",249 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.