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The Cry of Tamar

Violence against Women and the Church's Response

by Pamela Cooper-White

Publication Year: 2012

In this comprehensive, practical, and gripping assessment of various forms of violence against women, Pamela Cooper-White challenges the Christian churches to examine their own responses to the cry of Tamar in our time. She describes specific forms of such violence and outlines appropriate pastoral responses.

The second edition of this groundbreaking work is thoroughly updated and examines not only where the church has made progress since 1995 but also where women remain at unchanged or even greater risk of violence.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-6


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pp. vi-7

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Preface to the First Edition (1995)

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pp. vii-x

At the wedding of a friend last summer, the priest performing the ceremony addressed all the guests, exhorting us to take seriously our role as witnesses to the new marriage. It was hot. The glass-walled chapel at Pacific School of Religion was like a greenhouse. ...

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Introduction to the Second Edition

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pp. 1-23

In the almost two decades since The Cry of Tamar was first written for clergy, pastoral caregivers, and religious leaders, numerous changes have occurred in the fields of advocacy, prevention, and intervention to stop violence against women. ...

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Prologue: The Rape of Tamar

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pp. 24-38

The story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13 is a touchstone for virtually all the themes of this book. There is a rape that combines elements of incest and domestic violence. There is a conspiracy of men aiding and abetting the perpetrator of the crime and a male conspiracy of silence after the fact. ...

Part One: The Framework of Violence against Women

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pp. 39-50

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Chapter 1. Power and Violence against Women

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pp. 40-63

My stepsons love to tell the story of how the younger boy, when he was three years old, ran pell-mell up to a giant saguaro cactus in the Arizona desert standing with its arms outstretched. He threw his arms around its middle in a bear hug. ...

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Chapter 2. Images of Women: Pornography and the Connection to Violence

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pp. 64-82

This chapter started out as the first in the series of chapters on different forms of violence against women—beginning at the seemingly milder end of a spectrum of violence against women, that of the portrayal of images of women in the media. Milder because no woman ever gets physically hurt by a billboard or a television ad, does she? ...

Part Two: Forms of Violence against Women

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pp. 83-94

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Chapter 3. Sexual Harassment and Stalking

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pp. 84-105

Dr. Maureen Longworth tells the story of the first time, as a new medical resident, she had to give a complete physical to a male patient. When she began examining his genitals, he said, “Shouldn’t I be doing that to you?” In medical school, male colleagues would make lewd comments in her presence about female cadavers ...

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Chapter 4. Rape and Sexual Assault

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pp. 106-123

Sometime in the past, while on jury duty, I sat through the questioning of over twenty-five potential jurors for a case involving three counts of rape. The judge would always ask: “Have you, or any member of your family or a close friend, ever been the victim of a crime, including sexual assault?” ...

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Chapter 5. Battering

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pp. 124-148

I first heard of Eleanor’s story1 from Alice, a public defender who was soon to represent Eleanor at a sentencing hearing in county Superior Court. Fearing that a jury would not believe her story, Eleanor, a shy and soft-spoken African American county bus driver, had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. ...

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Chapter 6. Sexual Abuse by Clergy

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pp. 149-167

Katya1 shakes her head and tears well up in her eyes as she asks, “How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been taken in by him like that?” Several years ago Katya’s children were growing up, and she was a lay volunteer with her church youth group. ...

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Chapter 7. Sexual Abuse of Children

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pp. 168-192

On a warm summer evening, Myla1 was sitting at my house. We were planning a training session on sexual abuse of children, and she began to tell me more of her own story. Myla is an adult survivor of severe childhood physical and sexual abuse, but she remembers little. ...

Part Three: The Church’s Response

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pp. 193-204

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Chapter 8. The Pastor as “Wounded Healer”

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pp. 194-204

We are all wounded. Many of us are drawn to the work of healing because we understand being wounded from inside the experience. We are our own science experiments. We study pain “out there” in an (often unconscious) effort to transmute pain “in here.” Often we learn about helping others as a way of healing ourselves.3 ...

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Chapter 9. Ministry with Men Who Use Violence

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pp. 205-227

This chapter is not about monsters. It is about ordinary men, but ordinary men who have learned that violence is necessary to their survival. They have come to believe that the only way to have the power of choice, action, and self-determination is to exert power over others. ...

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Chapter 10. Empowering Women

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pp. 228-250

It may be that she is in your parish and believes from something you said in a sermon or something you announced in the bulletin that you will be safe to talk to. Or it may be that a colleague has referred her to you because you know something about the issue of violence against women. Or it may be simply that you are a woman. ...

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Conclusion. Reconciliation: Moving Beyond Individual Forgiveness to Communal Justice

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pp. 251-261

One of the most difficult issues, which comes up again and again in any discussion of violence against women, is that of forgiveness. One of survivors’ most common complaints is that their pastors or other religious leaders and counselors have pressured them into forgiving and “turning the other cheek” (Luke 6:29). ...

Appendix: A Litany for Healing

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pp. 262-263


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pp. 264-329

Index of Names and Organizations

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pp. 330-332

Index of Subjects

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pp. 333-342

E-ISBN-13: 9781451424423
E-ISBN-10: 1451424426
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800697341
Print-ISBN-10: 0800697340

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 2