Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence in Fiji An Anthropological Perspective
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://www.doyoubuzz.com/var/f/fF/i-/fFi-JrayPOYokX0sm3b7MlL2HwjtIcVhn5_K6QxANpe84_lrl4.pdf
Abstract
Domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women in the world and has
devastating consequences both on an individual and on a societal level. In Fiji, this phenomenon is
egregious: almost 3 in 4 of iTaukei women have experienced physical violence and/or sexual violence
at the hands of a partner over their lifetime. Despite its unique potential to critically inform national
policies and development programs, domestic violence is a topic which has often been disregarded by
anthropologists. However, by contrast with other scientific approaches (biology, psychology,
epidemiology), anthropology seems to be the only discipline which can holistically apprehend
domestic violence through the thorough examination of its cultural meanings which mediate the
practice and experience of violence, and thus, the possible responses to it.
This dissertation examines how indigenous women respond to intimate partner violence by
devising strategies such as staying in violent relationships, leaving temporarily or definitely, and
seeking help from their families, from agencies and from authorities. The variation in women’s
responses to violence is linked to the resources they have to invest in certain gendered subject
positions associated with material, social and symbolic benefits. Structural factors – such as the
economic, political and social context –, cultural formations and religious obligations influence these
strategies in intricate ways, by both constraining women’s choices and offering them room for
manoeuver, change and resistance.

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