Violence against women: Is it time to declare a state of emergency?
Conversation with Prof Rashida Manjoo
Has violence against women reached a state of emergency? This is exactly what Professor Rashida Manjoo (University of Cape Town, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women) considers in the conversation on violence against women. Exploring how violence against women manifests in both public and private spaces, with a particular emphasis on domestic violence, Prof Manjoo draws on her years of legal experience and her Special Rapporteur work to advocate for a holistic understanding of violence against women.
Starting the conversation, Prof Manjoo explains what is meant by violence against women to demonstrate its broad scope and the physical, psychological, sexual and economic forms it takes. While sexual violence against women in conflict is an ongoing problem, the privileging and focus on it as if it is something new and unrelated to other forms of violence against women is challenged by Prof Manjoo. Through examining the continuum of violence and the problems with public/private dichotomy when dealing with violence against women, the link between the everyday reality of women in non-conflict situations to that of conflict related violence becomes clear.
The conversation then turns to the global prevalence of domestic violence and the different treatment by the authorities of violence in domestic situations to that of similar violence in public spaces. We discuss the pervasive patterns enabling domestic violence, the socialisation factors and lack of accountability. The importance of normative frameworks in addressing the violence is highlighted, but it cannot be the only method used. In bringing the conversation to a close, we focus on the problems of mainstreaming and the need for specificity and a contextual understanding by service providers of the individual, structural and institutional barriers preventing women seeking assistance and removing themselves from domestic violence situations.
This conversation was recorded on Wednesday 27 March 2019.
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