Misinterpretation of Faith: Addressing Domestic Violence in Pacific Communities

Posted on 10 May 2024

In a concerning trend, some Pacific men have been found to justify domestic violence through misinterpretations of the Bible, according to insights from Genevieve Sang-Yum, a social worker of Samoan-Chinese descent. Sang-Yum, who has dedicated her career to running programs aimed at helping Māori and Pacific men break the cycle of violence, has observed a troubling increase in the number of Pacific males who believe it is “normal to control or hit” their partners. This belief is often rooted in a skewed understanding of biblical texts, with scriptures being taken out of context to support abusive behavior.

The issue is not only prevalent among men but also affects female victims, who may accept this behavior due to similar misinterpretations. Sang-Yum emphasizes that the Bible, when understood correctly, advocates for love and respect between spouses. She points out that the scripture often cited about “women submitting to men” is counterbalanced by the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church—a love that is sacrificial and profound. Dunedin-based Samoan Reverend Alofa Lale echoes this sentiment, stating that the Bible teaches love and respect, and any form of violence is a gross misrepresentation of its teachings.
Source: RNZ

Photo: Sally Sitou / AusAID via Wikimedia


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