VAWG: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC

‘Violence against women … is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights.’ World Health Organisation

Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death … Decades of mobilizing by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas.’ UN Woman

Every year FiLiA hosts sessions on Male Violence Against Women. Within our patriarchal culture, violence is imposed upon us – we all have stories; we all hear stories.

For this panel we will hear from women witnessing, researching and sharing the following:

  • Race, Culture and Gender

  • Scars Across Humanity

  • Understanding Violence Against Older Women

  • Findings from new research with women subjected to Sexual Violence

SPEAKERS: DR AVA KANYEREDZI / ELAINE STORKEY / DR HANNAH BOWS / JESSICA EATON

RACE, CULTURE AND GENDER
SPEAKING OUT ABOUT VIOLENCE, ABUSE AND OTHER OPPRESSIONS:
FINDINS FROM INTERVIEWS WITH AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN HERITAGE WOMEN
AVA KANYEREDZI

I carried out life-history interviews that included photographs brought to and created during research with nine African and Caribbean heritage women and found that speaking about violence/abuse and seeking support for women who also experience other forms of oppression such as classism, poverty, racism and racialised intrusions is a challenge. Living in societies with racialised hierarchies that regard black women and girls' bodies as ‘less than’ and unsympathetic family responses, left women to question the validity of their experiences. Cultural mandates to be ‘strong Black women’ further guaranteed their silence, resulting in feelings of shame.

When thresholds of violence/abuse escalated, and they were compelled to speak, women were disbelieved and relegated to the margins of their families. A position some now use to ‘watch’ for violence/abuse of younger relatives. The mostly male perpetrators remained unsanctioned and in contact with women's families.

I propose 'hearing communities' sensitised to all forms of violence/abuse and intrusion women experience, can more effectively call perpetrators to account, enable more timely access to support and help to reduce further distress.

SCARS ACROSS HUMANITY
ELAINE STORKEY

Every three seconds, a girl under the age of 18 is married somewhere across the world usually without her consent and sometimes to a much older man. Combining rigorous research and compelling personal testimonies, Elaine Storkey investigates the different forms of violence experienced by women across the globe today. From female infanticide and child brides to domestic abuse, prostitution, rape and honour killings, violence against women occurs at all stages of life, and in all cultures and societies. How and why has this violence become so prevalent? 

UNDERSTANDING VIOLENCE AGAINST OLDER WOMEN
HANNAH BOWS

Research, policy and activism around violence against women has primarily focused on young women, who have considered most at risk of victimisation. Over the last few decades, research has gradually emerged showing high levels of violence and abuse against older women. However, this abuse has been defined by the victim's age rather than gender and, consequently, has been labelled 'elder abuse'. This conceptual framing of violence against women has not only obscured the extent of the problem but has led to poorly informed prevention and response initiatives. This paper draws on two recent studies examining different forms of violence against older women, namely sexual violence and homicide, from a feminist perspective. Implications for future research, policy and practice are discussed

‘LOGICALLY, I KNOW I’M NOT TO BLAME, BUT I STILL FEEL TO BLAME’ FINDINGS FROM NEW RESEARCH WITH WOMEN SUBJECTED TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE
JESSICA EATON

Jessica will discuss some key findings from her new body of work and upcoming book ‘Why we blame women for everything’ (due 2019). The talk will discuss the evidence of every level of society encouraging and supporting the victim blaming of women and girls and what her own studies have shown to matter to women who were blamed for being raped and abused.


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