What’s gendered about gender-based violence?

What’s gendered about gender-based violence?: An empirically grounded theoretical exploration from Tanzania

From Gender & Society

In Sub-Saharan Africa, violence against women (VAW) as a policy, practice, and research field has mushroomed in the past two decades under the term “gender-based violence” (GBV). Initially dealing disproportionately with wartime violence and genital mutilation, GBV has come to include more common forms in less exceptional settings, such as domestic violence. In this burgeoning field, violence is increasingly referred to as “gendered” without a coherent idea of what this means. This article examines the relation of partner violence not to biological sex, but to gender as conceptualized in feminist theory. It shows violence as intrinsically political. To intervene against wife-beating as it is locally understood and supported is to intervene against a means of maintaining structural privileges for one social group. The study has implications for policy and practice in interventions against violence, and suggests untapped potential in theoretically informed feminist research for understanding local power relations in the Global South.

Abstract

Violence is often considered gendered on the basis that it is violence against women. This assumption is evident both in “gender-based violence” interventions in Africa and in the argument that gender is irrelevant if violence is also perpetrated against men. This article examines the relation of partner violence not to biological sex, but to gender as conceptualized in feminist theory. It theorizes the role o

     
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