Friday, July 12, 2024

Women Resisting Violence: Voices and Experiences from Latin America is an illuminating and powerful account of both the ways in which women and girls encounter violence and the bold initiatives they are developing to respond to it. 

Across Latin America, the number of femicides has grown at an alarming rate, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside has come a dramatic increase in domestic violence; loud demands over domestic workers’ rights; increased suffering from and fierce resistance to land-grabbing; increased urban violence; violent discrimination against migrants; and the relentless growth of state control over women’s reproductive rights. In Women Resisting Violence, case studies and interviews with women leaders from Latin America highlight the multiple and intersecting forms of gendered violence – where race, sexuality, socio-economic status and other markers combine to identify, discriminate against, and target women.

Collecting a chain of voices, we focus on these women’s inspirational strategies for transforming communities and influencing international laws. Their testimonies underline the importance of culture, commemoration, and the arts in consolidating and amplifying active resistance. 

Women’s voices are loud and clear: gendered and intersectional violence is rampant in Latin America, but women are pushing back. As the Mexican proverb boldly states, ‘They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’

Praise for 'Women Resisting Violence'

This highly accessible book is concerned with one of the most important issues in Latin America today and in the future – violence against women. Its uniqueness relates to its focus on women’s resistance to violence, rather than women as victims of violence. In a context where diversity it key, it emphasizes the intersectional dimensions of women’s experiences. The text is accompanied by useful boxes, figures and podcast links. Women Resisting Violence will be core reading for policy-makers, researchers and students alike. – Caroline Moser, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester; Honorary Professor, UCL

Women Resisting Violence is a unique exploration of the different ways that women are resisting gendered violence. The book uses a powerful combination of different resistance strategies across a range of contexts – [it] provides an excellent insight into gender and intersectionality including an analysis of the impact of VAWG on women in all their diversity. [Including] fascinating examples of the different ways in which VAWG has disproportionate impacts on Indigenous women, Black women, women from urban and rural locations, migrants, and persons from LGBTQ+ groups. – Dr Erika McAslan Fraser, Ending Violence against Women and Children Helpdesk

Latin America is the continent with the highest VAWG rates but, at the same time, with a tremendous power of multiple resistances. This book demonstrates, once again, the significance of the bonds of sisterhood between academic feminists and Indigenous feminists proposing creative forms of resistance and theorizing from the South. As the song says: “they sowed fear in us, we grew wings…” – Rocío Silva Santisteban, Peruvian poet, feminist activist, scholar, and former member of Congress

The alarming rates of violence against women in Latin America can leave one feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. But by highlighting concrete, effective strategies and actions –led by those most affected by this violence–, the book Women Resisting Violence plays a critical role in finding solutions. It’s a valuable source for activists, journalists and researchers, and a powerful record of grassroots resistance. – Pamela Zaballa, CEO of NO MORE

We should all read this book to remember how strong the enemy is and to join the fight from our own position and possibilities (wherever we may be and to the best of our abilities). As we read here, everything counts, even waiting to receive a message when your friend gets home. – Catalina May, Las Raras podcast

About the collective

This book has emerged from two projects on gendered and intersectional violence; collective efforts that have entailed a range of activities and which capture multiple initiatives and inputs. The creation of the Women Resisting Violence (WRV) website, blog, and podcast have been central to the work of the WRV Collective. The WRV Collective reflects the feminist and collaborative decision-making processes underpinning the project and the writing of this book.

Jelke Boesten is a professor of Gender and Development at the Department of International Development, King’s College London. She writes about gender-based violence in war and peace, post conflict justice, and memory and the arts in Latin America, with particular focus on Peru.

Andrea Espinoza is a feminist researcher focused on women’s and Indigenous people’s rights in Latin America, particularly in Ecuador and the Andean region. She is a lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London and a postdoctoral fellow at University of Exeter, with a project enquiring how socialism shapes sexual and reproductive health rights in Latin America, particularly in Ecuador and Peru. Her PhD thesis looked at Indigenous women’s paths through violence in plurilegal Ecuador.

Cathy McIlwaine is a professor of Geography at King’s College London. Her research focuses on issues of gender, poverty and violence in cities of the global South, and on migration and gendered violence among the Latin American community in London. She works collaboratively with a range of organizations and artists in Brazil and London.

Louise Morris is a journalist and audio producer who’s made podcasts, radio, and audiobooks for BBC Radio 4, NPR, Audible, Pottermore and the BBC World Service. Louise produced the Women Resisting Violence podcast and wrote the chapters Fighting Machismo: Women on the Front Line; and Cultural Resistance for LAB’s Voices of Latin America book.

Patricia Muñoz Cabrera (PhD) is an international research consultant and trainer on gender and intersectionality in development policies. Her postdoctoral research in sociology (U. of Sao Paulo, Brazi) focused on intersectional analysis of public policies in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. She has worked for European and international institutions, NGOs, and grassroots organizations. She was Chair of the former WIDE Network and is a member of the working group on feminist economic literacy at WIDE+. Her current research work focuses on the political economy of intersectional violence.

Moniza Rizzini Ansari is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, School of Law. She holds a PhD in Law from Birkbeck, University of London and previously worked as a research associate at King’s College London, Department of Geography. Her research focuses on the legal geography of poverty and violence in urban margins in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Marilyn Thomson is an independent gender consultant working on issues such as the rights of migrant and refugee women, violence against women and girls, and the care economy. She lived and worked in Latin America for many years carrying out research and projects with universities, international NGOs, and grassroots women’s organizations, including a domestic workers organization in Mexico. Her PhD thesis focused on the politics of domestic service. She was co-director of the UK-based Central America Women’s Network (which ran from 1992–2017).

Launch event

We launched the book on November 28, 2022, at The Exchange, London. Authors and collaborators presented the new book and there was a panel discussion about women’s widespread creative responses to gender-based violence with influential voices from the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), FALA (Feminist Assembly of Latin American Diaspora in the UK), No More Foundation, and NiUnaMenos UK. We enjoyed drinks, nibbles, installations, and feminist artworks by Lilophilia, who designed the book and podcast cover. 

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