Building Nehemiah's wall: The North Minneapolis faith community's role in the prevention of intimate partner violence

Jeannette L. Raymond, Rachael A. Spencer, Alice O. Lynch, Cari Jo Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1079
Number of pages16
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the violence prevention efforts of individuals who worked with the Family Partnership's Initiative for Violence Free Families and the 100 Men Take a Stand projects. Verilea Howard and Terry Wilson, both now deceased, initiated these efforts and provided a foundation for hundreds of people to contribute to prevention activities since 2000. Nate Russell, Warren Edwards, Fermone Brown, James Martin, and Sam Simmons all served as stafffor the Family Partnership's 100 Men Take a Stand program-which engages African American men in the prevention of family violence. In addition, the authors would like to thank the people who honestly shared the strengths and challenges faced when working on family violence in the context of faith communities. These of course are just a few of the people that could be acknowledged in an effort that engaged many people and organizations in the community. By sharing back the results of the focus group process with community members and publishing this article, we hope that further family violence prevention activities will be strengthened. The study was funded by a grant from the Program in Health Disparities Research, University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Springer Publishing Company.


  • African American
  • Partner violence
  • Religion
  • Victimization


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