Forth International Conference Of The British Association For The Study Of Spirituality (23-26 May 2016)
Chancellors Hotel & Conference Center Manchester, UK
Presenter: Ms Tina Eftekhar Institute for Transforming Women’s Self Other Relationships
Integrating Spirituality in Fight against Domestic Violence
The importance of spirituality for individuals coping with and recovering from trauma has been widely recognized. Despite this recognition, little information is available addressing the influence of spirituality on the experiences of women surviving domestic violence. The vast majority of domestic violence programs focus on the improvement of those critical outer resources e.g. police, IDVA, court orders, MARAC, awareness raising programs, etc. which so visibly support essential advances in the lives of survivors the DV organisations are meant to serve.
Women’s self-efficacy the fundamental component of empowerment, which can be thought of as the capacity to develop inner resources receives far less attention. But until the role of spiritual power in women’s self-efficacy is more widely understood, the amount devoted to funding outer resources will not be leveraged nearly as well as they could be.
The purpose of this presentation is to address this gap both in knowledge and practice by examining the influence of Interuniversal Mysticism (IUM) on women experiencing domestic violence. IUM is a movement developed over the last thirty years in Iran by Mohammad Ali Taheri which focuses on assisting people to achieve spiritual perfection and transcendence. I argue that by developing new beliefs and skills, IUM enables women to move on from vulnerabilities such as low self esteem and insecurity. It helps women who have been or still are in abusive relationships to develop the power to change the course of their lives so that they no longer find themselves in abusive relationships. My main focus is on women’s self-efficacy to help themselves or to cope better with an incident of victimization and be less dependent to external professional services.