Providing Spiritual Leadership to Survivors of Violence Against Women


This case describes how spiritual leaders can work with sexual assault survivors to help them heal. It examines the prevalence of sexual violence in the world and uses the findings from a report on sexual abuse at Bob Jones University to illustrate harmful approaches to spiritual leadership. Combining the results of the Bob Jones University report with data from other sources, such as the Department of Defense and salient research, this case describes ways that spiritual leaders can establish a supportive climate in their organizations, provide assistance, and empower survivors. Students will be asked to resolve the leadership dilemma of how to adhere to religious or organizational standards while supporting sexual violence victims. As this case shows, customary spiritual leader behaviors, such as establishing standards of dress, endorsing forgiveness, promoting moral codes, and protecting an organization’s reputation, can affect sexual violence survivors in unintended ways.

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