Abstracts and Papers

2nd Global Conference
Sexual and Gendered Violence

Sunday 1st December 2019 – Monday 2nd December 2019
Prague, Czech Republic


A Surfeit of Tolerance: Social Acceptance of Violence Against Women and Children in Japan
Gavan Patrick Gray
Tsuda University, Tokyo, Japan

Key Words:
Japan, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse

Despite Japan’s positive global image, significant societal failures have left many women and children at risk from issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, and human trafficking. As Japan attempts to paint itself in a positive light in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the state should be asking whether the best way to do so is by shining a spotlight on such problems or by leaving them out of sight in the shadows.

Japan’s sex industry has always been more broadly accepted as an intrinsic element of society than is the case in the West. However, a great many of the estimated 300,000 women employed by it are not there by choice; coercion and exploitation is rampant. Human trafficking of foreign women, deception and pressure placed upon women to perform in the AV (adult video) industry, the employment of school children in the Joshi Kōsei (high-school girl) compensated dating industry, and the sexualization of teen and pre-teen children in the Junior Idol industry, all represent areas of the wider sex trade in which the rights of women and children and being flagrantly abused. Beyond these issues, domestic violence and the abuse of children reveal further failings in social and government responses to the victimization of vulnerable segments of the population.

This presentation will lay out the background of the existing problem, the cultural factors that sustain a troubling lack of awareness of the issue among the general populace, and the insipid nature of government responses that have generated weak legislation, low levels of prosecution, and feeble punishments for those convicted.

(This research is supported through a 3-year grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)

Mass Rape During the 1947 Partition and its Representation or Silencing in Hindi Cinema
Nidhi Shrivastava
University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Key Words:
1947 Partition, Bollywood, gendered violence, mass rape, The Holocaust, genocidal violence, rape, violence, 2012 Delhi gang rape case, Transnational feminism.

Since 2012, there has been an increasing visibility of the global rape crisis in India in social media, journalism, and through films in the aftermath of the heinous Delhi gang rape case. I argue that there is an absence of the discourse on mass rape that took place during the 1947 Partition and its absence in India’s national imagination. Numerous scholars including Sukeshi Kamra (2002), Paul R. Brass (2003), Dorothy Barenscott (2006), Kavita Daiya (2008), Bharat Sarkar (2009), and William Dalrymple (2018) have suggested that the violence that took place during the Partition shared similarities with the Holocaust and other genocides. Moreover, Zoe Waxman (2008) has noted that “Holocaust survivors may feel that feel that traditional versions of Holocaust history prohibit them from telling their stories. Perhaps it is only because Susan’s assailant was Polish rather than Jewish that she is able to speak of the assault at all” (139). Likewise, Partition survivors who are also rape and abduction survivors rarely speak of their experiences because of the trauma and shame that they may feel. At a time when the #metoo movement is gaining momentum worldwide, it is even more important to draw attention to reclaim invisible voices to better understand the contemporary rape crisis in India. My core argument is that a raped woman’s body lies on the intersections of hyper nationalism, violence, shame, honor, and silence. Through the discussion of the films Apna Desh (1949), Lahore (1949) as well as recent depictions of raped victims in Gadar (2001), Pinjar (2003), Silent Waters (2003), Nandita Das’s Manto (2018), I will make the argument that the government and media’s insecurity about female sexuality and shame prevents the discussion of the mass rape that occurred during the 1947 partition come to light. This paper is part of my overall dissertation.

Masculine Failure: Rape Culture and Intergenerational Trauma in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Hakyoung Ahn
Texas A&M University

Key Words:
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, gendered violence, rape culture, masculinity, intergenerational trauma

My paper argues that national and historical gendered violence is linked to a continuing rape culture in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007). The novel portrays the displaced lives of the Dominican-American protagonist Oscar and his immigrant family, who are driven from the Dominican Republic to escape an intergenerational curse called the fukú. Fukú is a name for the structural violence generated by the brutal regime of Dominican dictator Trujillo that traumatizes Oscar’s family for generations, and follows the family to the U.S. despite their attempt at escape. Importantly, the origins of this curse lie in Oscar’s grandfather’s refusal to allow his daughter to be raped by Trujillo, which is mirrored across borders and generations in Oscar’s own refusal to conform to a systemic rape culture in the U.S. Trujillo’s regime of violence against women is thus intertwined with a contemporary model of toxic masculinity that renders men into perpetrators of rape. Oscar is violently murdered in punishment for his failure to assimilate into this system. Díaz’s depiction of gendered violence as a pervasive, systemic, and intergenerational force links the gendered violence of a national dictatorship to a more contemporary, ongoing rape culture.

Walking Between the Raindrops: Collective Impact Initiatives Addressing Domestic Violence
Carrie McManus

Andrea Silverstone

Key Words:
Domestic Violence, Collective Impact, Adaptive, Complex, Systems Change, Social Change, Pre-existing Conditions, Trust, Equity, Backbone

Leading a complex adaptive collective can sometimes feel like trying to walk between the raindrops, balancing strong leadership, creating space for diverse voices, and knowing when and how to be visible or invisible. This presentation will share the experiences of using a collective impact model to achieve largescale social change on domestic violence. This presentation will discuss how to best engage in collective impact to achieve largescale social change, focusing on the pre-existing conditions necessary for social change.

A community issue as complex as domestic violence is a component of “largescale social change, (which) requires broad cross sector leadership, coordination, collaboration and engaged citizens. (Family violence Hurts Everyone: A Framework to End Family Violence In Alberta, 2013). This presentation will discuss leanings from two collective impact initiatives addressing domestic violence. Both initiatives are complex adaptive collectives of over 70 community agencies, stakeholders and systems working together for a coordinated and collaborative approach to ending domestic and sexual violence in our community. Research shows that structured cross sector coalitions are much more effective at addressing complex social issues or achieving systemic change than the isolated impact of working for change through a single organization (Kania and Kramer, Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity, 2013)

Understanding the Impact of Gender Violence Prevention Policies and Initiatives on Women in Istanbul
Maria Pilar Milagros Garcia
Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

Key Words:
Gender-based violence, cultural violence, language and discourse, policy analysis, images of womanhood and violence.

Violence against women in Turkey continues to increase in spite of governmental and non-governmental efforts to alleviate the problem. Both external pressures and Turkish feminist movements have pushed the government to “make gender policy amendments” (Marshall, 2013, p. 11). Turkey was, in fact, the first country to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in 2012. On that same year, a new Law on the Protection of the Family and Prevention of Violence against Women was adopted. Notwithstanding all the aforementioned attempts, “a woman is murdered, on average, every two days,” according to Ihsan Cetin (2015, p. 349). Much research has been conducted to understand the multiple aspects and reasons for violence (poverty, unemployment, among others), but more research needs to be done, especially on “cultural violence, a dimension of violence that cannot be quantified” (Rojas Blanco, 2010, p. 208), and that is composed of various subjective processes of discursive interaction.

This paper presentation aims to examine cultural violence, which, as Galtung (1990) defines it constitutes “those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence -exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art … that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence’” (p. 291). Consequently, this paper examines over thirty governmental gender violence prevention policies from a discursive and rhetorical perspective with a socio-cultural perspective and a gender focus to uncover how womanhood and violence are represented by the Turkish state to understand whether discursive and symbolic violence are exerted. Such analysis can illuminate new understandings on gender violence prevention policies, and can also help us comprehend how symbolic systems, such as language and discourse, make meaning in ways that may further disadvantage certain sectors of the population.

The Role of Empowerment Self-Defense in Sexual Violence Prevention
Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman
El HaLev

Key Words:
empowerment, violence prevention, sexual assault, self-defense, education

Sexual and gender-based violence is one of the leading causes of injury among women; according to the World Health Organization 1 in 3, or 35%, of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence as some point in their lifetime. El HaLev is an Israeli non-profit organization that is dedicated to the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence among some of the most vulnerable populations worldwide. El HaLev’s method of Empowerment Self-Defense(ESD) has been crafted over the past forty years by women with backgrounds in various academic fields, including education, psychology, and social work, with curricula that can be adapted to address cultural sensitivity and meet the needs of specific communities such as: survivors of sexual and domestic violence, children, teenage girls at-risk, religious minorities, seniors, refugees, the LGBTQ population and people with special needs.

In a study commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, the use of feminist self-defense was examined and named as an effective tool for violence prevention. The study concluded that self-defense is a promising practice that should be more widely promoted on a national level and more space should be made for it in policy, financing and research.

The ESD Method was born from the synthesis between women’s everyday realities, feminist ideology and sensitivity to the psychology of women and other high-risk populations. This method includes techniques for setting healthy boundaries, assertiveness skills, techniques for de-escalation, confidence building drills, how to assess and identify a potentially dangerous situation and violent behavior, confident body language skills as well as physical techniques to use as needed. The goal is to provide women with a set of tools that can help them identify potentially dangerous situations; the time has come for an intervention that will not limit the freedoms of those at high-risk of sexual and gender-based violence but rather expand them.

Not in My Community: Supporting Affluence Survivors of Domestic Violence
Carrie McManus

Andrea Silverstone

Key Words:
Domestic Violence, Feminist Practice, Empowerment, Curating Environments, Peer Programming, Shame & Stigma, Self-Compassion, Culture of Affluence, Connection, Upscale Domestic Violence

The experiences of affluent survivors of domestic violence are rarely studied or acknowledged in the domestic violence literature, and service providers often fail to see the vulnerability of this population because they are not accustomed to associating risk or helplessness with privileged populations (Berg, 2014). Program funders, social service sectors and society at large continue to make this population and their experiences of domestic violence invisible. While affluent domestic violence shares many characteristics with domestic violence among less affluent populations, some barriers, circumstances and cultural influences are unique to affluent women.

This session will examine the unique factors impacting women of affluence experiencing domestic violence, such as help-seeking behaviors and the culture of affluence. We will review a research project recently completed examining diverse barriers and enablers for women of affluence experiencing domestic violence. We will delve into the impact of understanding domestic violence within a lens of coercive control and how that lens of coercive control may open up opportunities for supports and services that wouldn’t normally be accessible for the affluent population. This presentation will discuss implications for programming and engagement with this population base. As well we will support attendees to explore strategies for building capacity within the human services sector for recognizing and supporting affluent survivors.

State and the Question of Violence Against Women: A Journey through the Procedures and Documents of Assam State Commission for Women, 2013-2017
Mayurakshi Dutta
Ambedkar University, Delhi, India

Key Words:
Violence against women, feminism, state

The Assam State Commission for Women (ASCW, henceforth) is a quasi-legal, state-sponsored institution that came into being “with a view to protect, promote and safeguard the interest and Right of women” in the state of Assam, India. A state-level, government institution with a definite politics for women, however doesn’t necessarily entail that it will be feminist in its approach. The numerous theories of the state have often failed in addressing its gendered nature that ends up reinforcing the already existing gendered hierarchies in the wider society and leads us to the question: can state agencies be truly feminist in its approach?

For this paper, ASCW, its Legal Advisory Committee (LAC, henceforth) and the hearing sessions that LAC presides over become the subject of scrutiny and dialogue. Through a qualitative study of the case files and ethnography of the hearing sessions we see the advancing of existing status quo between males and females and the reinforcement of patriarchal ideas despite being an institution that promises to uphold the rights of women. We will look at the relationship of the survivor or victims (for, many did not survive) of violence that approach and file applications at ASCW and the state. The journey of the survivor/victim who keeps running to the state as a last resort and the state’s apathetic and callous or sometimes protectionist but precisely problematic approach and attitude towards the survivors/victims unfurls through its rituals of documentation as well as ethnography of the hearing sessions. It will address the question of state intervention when dealing with issues of violence against women and critiques the liberal feminist stance that views the state as the way to address gender equality.

However, if there are critiques, it should in no way be read as the critique of one particular office but of state systems in general and their relationships to survivors/victims of gendered violence. We also believe that our findings will contribute to an initiation of dialogue regarding violence against women in a social and cultural milieu where there is a general denial of existence of such forms of violence and bring it to a larger audience for discussion and deliberation.

The Role and Implications of Personal Writing in the Process of Forming Self in the Aftermath of Child Sexual Abuse
Bella Sagi
Bar-Ilan University

Key Words:
Childhood sexual abuse, Sexual violence, Gender, Bibliotherapy, Writing, Validation, Self.

A unique characteristic of childhood sexual abuse as an identity-establishing experience is the lack of recognition and of testimony to trauma in the victim’s life experience. Childhood sexual abuse often has no external witnesses and consequently, relies on internal validation, which is weak due to the fragmentation of traumatic memory (van der Kolk & van der Hurt, 1995), the dissociative defense mechanism (Somer, 2016), and sometimes even identification with the aggressor (Ferenczi, 2003). Without internal representation and validation of her experience, the victim is often preoccupied for years with contemplating and searching for her history, the truth, real memory.

As a Bibliotherapist that works with sexual and gendered violence victims, I found that many of them use writing as an instinctive way of dealing with their trauma. My research examined the role of personal writing as a testimony to childhood sexual abuse and its meaning for constructing self-cohesion among these young women in their identity-shaping processes.

The study found that the most substantial components for self-cohesion, provided by writing, are the possibility of introspection (reflection) and the imparting of meaning.

The lecture will integrate between sexual trauma theory, Bibliotherapy and examples from the study and the therapeutic field.

South African Indian Gay Men’s Accounts of Sexual Microagressions
Deepesh Dayal
University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Against oppressive heteronormative community and cultural norms, as well as conservatism and religious influences, South African gay men of Indian descent experience discrimination that has become less direct and ‘subtler’ in the form of everyday homonegative verbal comments known as microaggressions. Such sexual and gendered violence is interpersonal, but also verbal, symbolic, and structural. The harm can be unintentional or intentional, but microinsults and heterosexist discourse has the effect of psychological harm, shame, and invalidation of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender performativity. Even though such sexual minority microaggressions are expected from heterosexual persons, the intersection of these microaggressions with South African Indian values, which has been underexplored, points to a particular intersectionality that links with socialized values, as well as familial and community expectations. We present the findings of such a study where both perpetrators and recipients of these microaggression messages were of Indian descent. Our focus was on the receivers of these messages. Our research questions were twofold: 1. What do South African Indian gay men report about sexual orientation microaggressions that have been levelled against them by South African Indian people? and 2. How do South African Indian gay men construct their encounters of being recipients of microaggressions that originated from South African Indian persons? We locate the findings gained from interviews with, as well as diaries from, a small sample within a microaggression conceptual framework and then present a constructionist analysis of the gay men’s reflections or accounts of their encounters. We discuss the findings within ideological and discursive problems of heterosexism, heteronormativity, and Indian ‘community’ values. Such violence that goes unrecognized and, often, dismissed has social and psychological positionings that further marginalize gay men.

Yazidi Women’s Psycho-Social Crises and Cultural Rejection
Sirwan Ali
University of Western Australia, Australia

Key Words:
Sexual Violence, personal and social challenges, patriarchal culture, suicidal thoughts, rehabilitation programs.

This panel will discuss the psycho-social challenges facing Yazidi survivors from the ethnic cleansing transpired in 2014 during the ISIS attacks in Iraq and the effective methods for their rehabilitations as individuals. The number of affected individuals is not accurate but it is obvious from the United Nations and Human Rights Organization reports that many kinds of sexual violence, rape, sexual slavery trade and mass murder were practised against both genders from different ages including children.

By way of, the brutality of the action is jeopardised with faith-motivated ideologies, the rape attack soon turned to state wide sexual slavery with divine justifications within the geographical area between Iraq and Syria. The group provided granular details of dogmatic justifications from Quran, referencing selected interpretations of Islamic scholars, who believe in the code that infidel women can be enslaved which complicates the situation. It is best suits traumatic experience because the rape and sexual slavery primarily occurred in conditions of war, male sexual excitement came to be associated intimately with murder and violence.

One of the worst consequences of this genocide can be suicide but it is hard to obtain data due to certain cultural and faith related reasons. Rape experience can have feeling distressed and overwhelmed during and after the incident to develop to suicidal thoughts. If these thoughts remained unchallenged they can convince the individuals to carry on and attempt suicide. To place women suicide within the range of male violence and pressure is controversial because many of those women undoubtedly may choose of their own will to attempt suicide as a personal decision. However, it cannot be denied that in many cases the patriarchal culture and male dominance are comparatively responsible for the deaths of many women. Therefore, one of our aims is to address patriarchy and male dominance culture.

A.I. Confidential: Methodological Approaches to Supporting Recipients of Donor Sperm in Sharing their Experiences of “Morally Challenging Behaviour” from Within the Online Sperm Donation Community
Georgie Forshall
Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom

Key Words:
Sperm Donation, Morally Challenging Behaviour, Online VWG. Listening Guide, Ethics

Artificial insemination (AI) is becoming an increasingly socially acceptable way to deal with issues of male-infertility or as a means to start a family for single women and same-sex couples. Whilst this procedure is offered in the UK by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority-regulated National Health Service and private fertility clinics, issues of accessibility and choice have resulted in the emergence of an unregulated sperm donation route, which typically takes place online, connecting sperm donors and recipients via social media or ‘connection websites.’ The lack of a regulated vetting process or safeguarding framework, combined with the possibility of gender-based violence in both online and offline settings, is putting recipients of unregulated sperm at risk of harm. Recent research reports that as many as one in two women have been abused by men using sperm donation websites (McQuoid, 2015). The aim of this presentation is to share the methodological approach taken in reaching this hard-to-reach population of unregulated sperm recipients and the adaptation of Carol Gilligan’s ‘Listening Guide’ to find out about their experiences of encountering ‘morally-challenging behaviour’ in the online sperm donation community, as well as the endurance of their sense of self in response to violence in this context. In particular, it will discuss how the creation of the website, A.I. Confidential, a platform for recipients to share their experiences, has been used as a tool for consciousness-raising among the recipient community and as a method to recruit participants to the study. The presentation will also outline the ethical considerations involved in researching survivors of abusive or traumatic experiences, as well as in supporting participants to discuss sensitive subjects, in the context of unregulated sperm donation.

Representing Gay Bullying in Fox Prime Time
Kylo Patrick Hart
Texas Christian University

Key Words:
Bullying, deviance, homosexuality, media, otherness, psychology, queerness, representation, violence

LGBTQ teens are frequently bullied in school, often with long-term and devastating consequences to their health and mental well-being. For example, with regard to the topics of queerness and bullying, statistics consistently reveal that gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people in the United States attempt suicide at rates that are significantly higher than those of their heterosexual peers. Accordingly, this presentation will explore the phenomenon of gay teen bullying as represented in the FOX television series Glee (2009-2015), which focuses on the daily realities experienced by a small group of adolescents who are members of their high school competitive show choir. Although bullying is a prominent theme throughout many episodes of Glee, this analysis of the television series will focus primarily on the powerful storyline within which the openly gay high school student Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer) is bullied relentlessly by the hockey player Dave Karofsky (played by Max Adler), to the extent that he ultimately decides to enroll in a different school.

In addition to analyzing the representational dynamics of bullying within Glee, this presentation will examine the factors that appear to be causing the bully to act out in such harmful and disturbing ways. For example, the logic of the bullying storyline in this television series strongly suggests that the bully’s own latent homosexual tendencies are what motivate him to feel so threatened by the perceived otherness of his fellow student and lead him to behave so abusively. Relevant insights offered in the psychological literature on bullying will be employed to critique the effectiveness of this influential representation of bullying in 21st-century popular culture. The contents of this bullying storyline will further be examined with regard to what gay victims of bullying might do to ensure that things will indeed get better in their lives, sooner rather than later.

Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes against LGBT and Intersex people
Francesca Braga
Middlesex University London, University Kingdom

Key Words:
Bias, hate crimes, homophobia, impunity, LGBTI, persecution, SGBC

The paper will provide a snapshot on those crimes committed against people, whether male or female, because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Since ever, crimes and gross violations of human rights against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people have been recorded across the globe. During times of turmoil this vulnerability is highly exacerbated, often leaving LGBTI people to experience a level of violence and exclusion beyond that borne by others. They face violence and persecution anytime, even in times of peace. However, in times of armed conflict, disaster and civil unrest, such as in postconflict and post-disaster situation, the pre-existing homophobia becomes amplified. Crimes motivated by a bias toward gender identity are a plague in the contemporary society. In particular, hate crimes and sexual and gender-based crimes (SGBC) are rising in the past few years. Those crimes are committed against people, whether male or female, because of their sex and/or socially constructed gender roles. GBC does not need to include a sexual component, it may include non-sexual attacks on women and girls, men and boys, and LGBTI because of their gender. In the international law context, SGBC is designed to have an audience, because it maximizes the harm that caused to the direct victims but also sends a message to everybody else. Most of LGBTI people who experienced these crimes did not report the event to anyone, including to the police, support organizations, local authorities or health care system. The main reasons are the fear of harassment and further victimization from the criminal justice system and also fear of discrimination from medical providers. The culture of silence is a factor in the normalization of societal violence, which as it continues becomes even harder to reduce. Combat impunity is the best tool to fight SGBC. It includes prevention, coordination and coordination between States at regional, national and international levels. It also needs to be addressed through multi-levelled and multi-pronged strategies.