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Violence Against Women. 2009 Nov;15(11):1294-310. doi: 10.1177/1077801209347619.

Spiritual abuse: an additional dimension of abuse experienced by abused Haredi (ultraorthodox) Jewish wives.

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  • 1Ariel University Center of Samaria, Jerusalem, Israel.


This article aims to conceptualize spiritual abuse as an additional dimension to physical, psychological, sexual, and economic abuse. Growing out of an interpretivist participatory action research study in a therapeutic Haredi (Jewish ultraorthodox) group of eight abused women, spiritual abuse has been defined as any attempt to impair the woman's spiritual life, spiritual self, or spiritual well-being, with three levels of intensity: (a) belittling her spiritual worth, beliefs, or deeds; (b) preventing her from performing spiritual acts; and (c) causing her to transgress spiritual obligations or prohibitions. The concept and its typology are illustrated by means of examples from the women's abusive experiences and may be of theoretical and therapeutic worldwide relevance.

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