Gender Disparity and Intimate Partner Violence: An Analysis of Evangelicalism in Louisville, KY



Thurman, Kirstyn

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In this thesis, the intersections of evangelicalism, violence, gender roles, and power are explored. The location of focus was in Louisville, KY. Louisville is a city where 1 in 3 people are Southern Baptist and there is high religiosity. Simultaneously, it is home to some of the highest intimate partner violence (IPV) statistics in the United States. I conducted a literature review, an analysis of sermons, auto-ethnography, and interviews with survivors, a pastor, staff at a Women’s Crisis Center, and a scholar. In my research, I explored inherent features of evangelical discourses. My goal was to witness how these discourses shape the subjectivities of women with a fundamentalist Christian background. From my analysis, I found that discourses encapsulated clear gender expectations and uneven power dynamics, which may correlate with the high rates of IPV. I also present a more holistic understanding of the influences of gendered violence and the challenges that victims face in leaving the relationship. This thesis contributes to the anthropology of gender, feminist theories of IPV, and the anthropology of religion with particular attention to fundamentalism.



Gender disparity, Intimate partner violence, IPV, Louisville KY, Evangelical, Fundamentalism