Tearfund, the international aid organisation, has shown having a faith impacts the likelihood of men carrying out sexual and gender-based violence against their partner.
The charity, which works in more than 50 countries, found that men who are actively engaged in a faith group are more than twice as likely to think violence towards their partner is never justified, compared to those who are not engaged at all.
The study was carried out in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and found that nearly 40 per cent of women reported that they had suffered sexual violence from an intimate partner in the past year. The country has endured years of conflict, with sexual and gender-based violence used as a weapon.
However, as part of the UK government-funded ‘What Works’ project, which aims to prevent violence against women and girls, Tearfund has been running a ‘Transforming Masculinities’ course to turn this around.
The project works with faith and community leaders to remove stigma, encourage self-reflection, begin reconciliation and change behaviours. It is now being piloted in the neighbouring Central African Republic.