28 Gennaio 2013 Emanuele Bompan

Intervista a Jacqui True

Abbiamo discusso con Jacqui True sulla questione della Violenza in USA, del suo libro «the Political Economy of violence against women» e della riforma legislativa VAWA.

Jacqui True

What is the main thesis of your book? Will be published in Italy?

If there is demand and interest from an Italian translator/publisher the book will be published in Italy – meanwhile available for purchase in English online.

In every country women have lesser achievement of social and economic rights than men – this means they do not have the same access to resources including land/property/shelter, food security, decent employment, credit, assets/capital, education, healthcare, social security etc. Thus they are more likely to find themselves in “vulnerable situations” at home, at work, when migrating transregionally and transnationally where they are less able to protect themselves from violence and where men with greater access to these resources can exercise power/domination over women. Yet we find that when women (and groups of women) have a good economic and social status they are much less likely to experience violence – all forms including rape and sexual violence, sexual harassment, femicide/murder, domestic violence/battering, honor killing and so on. This means though women of every social class, ethnicity etc experience men’s violence – women are not equally vulnerable to this violence – and some groups of women – e.g. young women, widowers, indigenous women, poor women, migrant women (especially illegal migrants), – are especially vulnerable because they have less protections and less resources to protect themselves.

What are the main driving factors on violence on women in the US?

* Generalised culture of violence supported by militarised society which owns/deploys 40% of the world’s arms and has the highest incarcerated population globally – such a society celebrates masculine aggression and trains large numbers of people to use violence – state-sanctioned – to maintain power and order. Once people have been taught it is OK to use violence and to disassociate the consequences of their acts from their relationship to other human beings they will use violence in any context. Thus the rates of domestic violence are far higher in military families than in the civilian population in the US. Rape in the US military and on US bases is a major problem threatened the cohesion of the forces – as much as it is used a war/fighting strategy abroad.

* Significant social and economic inequalities that disproportionately affect some communities and groups. Disenfranchised men who have lost a sense of identity and previous entitlement to employment and breadwinner status frequently lash out against female partners (often employed in the growing service sector) to reassert control and masculine identity precisely because it has been threatened. High rates of domestic violence are found in cities/areas which have experienced mass redundancies and closures see Deborah Weissman’s work on this. We know – have the research to support out claims – that economic austerity increases domestic violence – also with respect to the effects of the financial recession.

What are the social subjects more likely to suffer stalking, rape, gender violence? age, class, ecc….

As mentioned above..

Do you have recent data about violence on women in US? I am interested especially in fire-arms murder and rape from intimate person (husband, father, ecc)

From my book pg. 10-12

Most recent US data comes from the US National Survey commissioned by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011) – used a broad definition of domestic and sexual violence – far greater “prevalence” than expected.

-1 in 5 women reported experiencing rape or attempted rape

-1 in 4 women described being beaten by an intimate partner

-1 in 3 women said they had been victims of rape, beating, stalking or a combination of them

Prevalence of VAW highest among Younger women.

What could be an effective solutions in Usa?

So far VAW ACt focused on *legal* solutions. My book argues these solutions must address the root/structural causes of violence against women in social and economic gender inequality -economic empowerment of women + gender equality and anti-violence education.

It is not enough to pour $100 million more in to lawyers to enable more women to seek justice through the courts as Joe Biden enabled under the previous Obama administration and VAW Act – more efforts to prevent violence by enabling women’s economic independence and social support are crucial. It took from 1994 when the Act was first passed until 2010 for the US Federal government to direct state and local authorities to guide housing authorities to evict the violence perpetrator and not the women if they had reported or experienced domestic violence. Housing support is crucial for women to be able to leave a violent relationship – as is employer support – Australian now offers domestic violence paid leave and support under collective bargaining contracts supported by employers so that women are able to keep their jobs when victims of violence and its health etc impacts.