DR AVA KANYEREDZI

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
RACE, CULTURE AND GENDER

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.

About Ava: Dr Ava Kanyeredzi is a lecturer on the Forensic, Clinical and Community Psychology programmes at the University of East London. Her book Race Culture and Gender: Black Female Experiences of Violence and Abuse (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) presents an in-depth account of nine Black British women’s experiences of violence and abuse, and their feelings of being silenced as children, women, Black women and as victims/survivors.

BOOK: RACE, CULTURE AND GENDER