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Meet the researcher

A graduate of the University of Otago (BA – English, BD – Hebrew/Old Testament), Revd Dr Miryam Clough gained her PhD in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Bristol/Trinity College Bristol in 2014. Her doctoral thesis on Ireland's Magdalen laundries examined shame, gender, and sexuality in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland from feminist and postcolonial perspectives. Miryam is a Postdoctoral Fellow at St John's College, Auckland and Resident Scholar and adjunct tutor at Ōrongonui, the regional ministry training programme of Te Hui Amorangi ki Te Tai Tokerau. Until January 2020, Miryam practiced and lectured in Homeopathy in the UK, where she also worked in dementia care.

About the project

Miryam's current research explores whakamā/shame and gender violence in Aotearoa and will give particular attention to the effects of colonisation and of church/state appropriation of indigenous, female, and LGBTQ+ identities, bodies, and sexualities. Her aim is to offer practical and theologically based responses to these concerns to improve the lives of those marginalised by dominant cultures.

#MeToo and its sister movement #ChurchToo highlighted that sexual violence is endemic in many and varied workplace settings, including Christian churches, while the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in Care has demonstrated that New Zealand's faith-based institutions have been profoundly unsafe environments for many. Institutional abuse only changes when survivors come forward.

Published in January 2022, Vocation and Violence: The Church and #MeToo draws on empirical evidence – personal stories from survivors and the views of church leaders and educators – in dialogue with theoretical perspectives, to consider clergy sexual abuse of adult women with vocations to ministry and the conditions that support it. In defining sexual abuse by clergy as a systemic issue, Miryam argues that alternative theological models and relational ethics are essential if the church is to truly address the problem of clergy sexual abuse and give greater priority to the abused.


Vocation and Violence: The Church and #MeToo
Miryam Clough
Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2022

Further publications include:

  • Clough, M. (2019). 'Keeping Secrets: The Church of England and Shame'. In Letters to a Broken Church, Janet Fife and Gilo eds. London: Ekklesia.
  • Clough, M. (2017). Shame, the Church and the Regulation of Female Sexuality. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
  • Clough, M. (January 2016). 'Shame: A risky emotion in dementia care'. Journal of Dementia Care 24(6):32-34.
  • Clough, M. (August 2014). Atoning Shame?Feminist Theology 23(1):6-17.
  • Clough, M. (Autumn 2012). 'Managing shame in the consulting room'. The Homeopath 31:2.
  • Clough, M. (May 2010). Shame and organisations. International Journal of Leadership in Public Services 6(1):25-33.
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