Who are these feminists? A call for discussion

Do Western feminists condone sexism and misogyny in other countries because of cultural relativism? If so, who are they and what are they actually saying?

This article came out following the brutal gang rape of the student [name redacted] on a bus in Delhi, and repeats a popular truism which I’ve been meaning to write about for some time; namely, that Western feminists privilege antiracism (or anti imperialism, or intersectionality) so highly that we are willing to condone atrocities committed on women in other countries if they’re performed in the name of religion or culture. “It’s Their Culture” is supposedly our cry.

This argument, beloved of the late Pamela Bone, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and even the awe-inspiring Mona Eltahawy, as well as (and this is where my spidey-senses are alerted) conservatives, antifeminists and members of the Old Left – the Venn diagram of these may overlap somewhat) is now taken up by Swati Parashar of the University of Wollongong. Because she didn’t see any articles, blog posts or petitions by “Western” femininsts following the gang rape, she saw it as yet another example of our failure to condemn because of our tacit approval of oppression of women “over there”.

Those who are quick to condemn governments which kill women and children in drone attacks in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or who are quick to point out that Western policies have endangered lives of civilians in many parts of the world, find no words to speak out against the violence women in the Global South face repeatedly and every day.
Violence against women that is routinely normalised in certain cultures, in certain societies, in certain countries, and violence that cannot be traced to Western militarism or Western foreign policy does not find easy critics. That would not be politically correct nor would it reflect commitment to anti-racism, perhaps.

To describe my own experience, I was on hiatus from serious blogging because of work and family demands in December, but I noticed that following the atrocity there was an upsurge of awareness and calls for action in India. As a “Western feminist”, rather than jumping in to offer my very important opinion, I felt much more inclined to shut up and listen to the excellent discourse taking place in India, and read about what they were saying. I didn’t imagine there would be any value in me repeating the fact that raping someone with an iron bar was bad, or that there would be anyone attempting to argue that it was condoned by anybody. To paraphrase Chris Clarke, the idea that “…one is obliged to point out that it is a bad thing, and that bad things are bad, and that failure to point this out every single time is an offense punishable by witch hunt, firing, ostracism and the like? Fuck that noise.”

I also thought that us Westies had had quite a productive year in 2012 advancing the discussion of rape culture, with special reference to centring men who rape in popular discussion instead of centring it on women and girls and how it is their responsibility to stop rape. I noticed that that idea was also central in the responses to the Delhi rape from Indian writers and demonstrators. We were, it seemed, on the same page. And that was a good thing.

When it came to Australian utterances, I would have paid the most attention to Indian-Australian women – women with experience in the milieu and some knowledge of the politics on the ground. I would have thought Ms Parashar would have been the perfect candidate to write that fiery article and start that petition. Instead, she chose to write a Culture-warsy meta-article on the inferiority of Australian feminism. Good-oh. But I don’t think she did Jyoti Singh Pandey any favours by doing so, any more than the rest of us who did comment on Facebook, Twitter and other outlets.

So that was where I was coming from, but that isn’t what this post is about. I have definite differences with feminists like Parashar and Hirsi Ali, but that’s not what it’s about either. As we’ve pointed out so often, feminism isn’t a hivemind. I am coming out to repudiate the description of Western feminists en masse as condoning FGM, honour killing and other atrocities because of some idea of “cultural significance” or whatever.

The feminists I know and read don’t seem to think this way. And in my (self-taught) feminist reading, I haven’t found any. Who are they? Are we at fault for not calling them out?

My Google-fu hasn’t proved very useful on this occasion. (There are the signatories to the reply to Adele Wilde-Blavatsky, which I could google with various keywords, but holy FSM that’s going to take an eternity). So I am calling on you, fellow Hoydens, visiting professors and casual readers, to lend me the benefit of your knowledge and join with me in identifying and discussing these feminists. I’m an autodidact feminist, but many of you who are reading this have studied gender and feminism at tertiary level. Who are these Western feminists who believe FGM and forced marriage and honour killing (and gang rape like the example Parashar is writing about) are OK when perpetrated in other countries? Can you provide a link to relevant articles, interviews or blogs which these people have written? Have at it in the commments.

I’m also asking that discussion is respectful – no calling out or piling on. Just links and brief descriptions of content would be great.



Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, Politics, social justice

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25 replies

  1. Living here in India during this time (as I am) it’s very interesting to see how local feminism has public ‘erupted’, for want of a better word, after the horrifically brutal rape of Jyoti.
    There was a bit of discussion in the expat community here (where I live in the lower Himalaya) about whether or not we should join in the protests that were going on around the country. Some preferred to bury their heads in the sand for fear of losing their visas… Others, like myself, preferred not to do that. I attended a local rally and was surprised/shocked/impressed that the majority of protestors were male. Men calling for women to be safe in their daily lives. (That being said, I’m fully aware of the culural constraints that probably meant their wives and daughters were not allowed to attend, but who knows really.)
    It seems that across India, Jyoti’s rape has really cracked something wide open. People (men and women both) are certainly very fed up with the lax, corrupt police and court system. There were massive riots in Delhi after her rape (despite their being banned) and vigils after her death. THe discussion went viral. Al Jazeera produced a number of excellent stories (if I can find them I will post up the links later) interviewing local New Delhi students (female and male) who were active in promoting women’s rights and putting a stop to the rape culture of India. Al Jazeera was the most comprehensive coverage of what was going on. So yes, the Western media was largely silent on what was/is going on here in India.
    The trouble is, women are raped and brutalised so often in India (every day, even every half an hour some stats say) that how do you really even begin to address it? Rape is even used as a form of punishment by families in some areas here, when women ‘go astray’. But we must do something.
    My thinking is education is the main way. Keep talking about the issues/events, educate sons and daughters from a young age. As westerners we can keep boosting the women here, supporting them, teaching them techniques for self-defence, like we were taught. We can’t leave them to just work it out themselves, what a waste of a resource! We have a lot of experience and we can use that to SUPPORT their work. On a political/government level, to punish rapists and abusers appropriately would be a big step in the right direction. (If only there was a campaign to finally rid India of corruption! *dreams*) And, of course, stop victim blaming.
    I talk with a lot of local women where I live, many of them Tibetan, and they are really pissed off about how women are treated. One woman told me how she refuses to allow this behaviour and has resorted to shaming and beating a couple of men who tried to touch her up on the street. At least she’s not afraid to stand her ground, that’s a great start. And she’s empowering her daughter in the same way. She’s not ashamed of herself when this happens (as so many are) she makes the male feel the shame of his actions.
    But it’s such a long road… Where I live, there is a guy who raped a tourist last year, who still roams the streets. The police know who he is (many locals know too) but from the last story I heard, it was the woman who was blamed (again!) for being out in the ‘wrong area’.
    As to Ms Wilde-Blavatsky, she is widely known in my area and does not have a great reputation. She likes to create scandal, in all quarters, which is a real shame and not at all useful.

  2. Well…. Germaine Greer has defended FGM.
    Other than that, I can’t think of any.

  3. I know some cultural relativists (ick) who are also feminists who think FGM is okay. But they aren’t feminist leaders or intellectuals, so???

  4. I am a feminist who is very opposed to FGM and similar things. However, I do not necessarily support other Western feminists when they condemn it. There are two reasons – because those complaints can easily slip into racist stereotyping and because I am fearful that loud condemnation from the West will make grass-roots anti-FGM work more difficult.
    On the other hand, I don’t know what I can do to support grass-roots anti-FGM work so I am uncomfortably aware I am taking the easy route out by not doing anything.

  5. Stene, fascinating comment from someone who definitely has details from events “on the ground”. I agree with you that westerners should continue to offer resources as needed and that education is the main hope. There doesn’t seem to be any silver bullet which will fix society overnight. I think there is a certain mindset which favours military and other extreme “white saviour” action because this kind of gradualism is unbearable, and I can understand that to some extent. But these always seem to come with unacceptable collateral damage, and I can’t see any way out except to focus on how boys are socialised to become men – and it seems as if, as I said in the OP, many people in India are on the same page.

  6. Deborah, my frustrations with Germaine Greer are many. One is that she zigzags between perfectly awesome and monstrous fail (as with the attitude that FGM is a choice, without reference to it being done on children.) But I’d like to get my hands on The Whole Woman to see what she actually has written, without sensational journalists getting in the way. We all know how they love feminism – not. I listened to her answering a question on it on Q&A, and it was clear she wasn’t pro-FGM. She was pointing out that since it’s culturally entrenched, simple legal expedients such as banning and punishment won’t work well – the “how” of making a difference, that is. I could see how this could be twisted in the reporting to seem like “weeell, that’s their culture *handwave*”, but it wasn’t that.
    I have a lot more thoughts about Greer’s remarks about “Western” FGM – the barbiedoll surgery trend – but that’s a post for another day.

  7. Eden – they may not be leading feminists, but are there any blog posts or articles to link to? I’m not getting a huge number of examples here. We’ve got Germaine Greer, but she doesn’t seem to have given FGM (or FGC) a complete green light and her utterances except for the Q&A remarks are filtered through the media. I’m going to get my hands on a copy of The Whole Woman, but it’s checked out at the library so I’ll have to wait a while.

  8. Emily, it is your kind of nuanced view which is taken up and distorted to suggest that feminists just don’t care about sexual violence. We don’t know how to end rape in our own countries. It’s all very well to condemn things, but once we know they’re bad things, what do we do? The Indian demonstrations and the calls to change the way boys are raised was, to my mind, pretty well spot on. We didn’t need to tell people what to do. And there is no immediate cure, no silver bullet. And the reason for that is that male entitlement to womens’ bodies is steeped in culture, both ours and theirs. And saying that is not the same as saying “It’s OK, because it’s their culture”.

  9. I agree Emily. And it is your kind of nuanced view which is taken up and distorted to suggest that feminists just don’t care about sexual violence. We don’t know how to end rape in our own countries. It’s all very well to condemn things, but once we know they’re bad things, what do we do? The Indian demonstrations and the calls to change the way boys are raised was, to my mind, pretty well spot on. We didn’t need to tell people what to do. And there is no immediate cure, no silver bullet. And the reason for that is that male entitlement to womens’ bodies is steeped in culture, both ours and theirs. And saying that is not the same as saying “It’s OK, because it’s their culture”.

  10. @Emily, I have two suggestions for helping with anti-FGM work. The Orchid Project, which is UK-based administratively, but deals with the issue in a highly region-specific way, and in conjunction with the UN, looks like something we can all give our support to. I also donate to Partners in Health, which I know at times has had a system set up for your money to go specifically to anti-FGM projects, although I couldn’t find that when I checked their website today. Their model is exclusively to work in partnership with the health practitioners of the local community.
    @Helen, re. Greer, I hate to tell you, but I read The Whole Woman when it first came out and was sent reeling by the, frankly, naive analysis of FGM, whereby she suggested that because it is usually done by women to their daughters, and because hip New York performance artists sometimes modify their genitals, we are all being too hasty in our judgement. It was awful.

    • I trepidatiously venture one particular point: there is an immense difference between various forms of FGC vs FGM.
      I personally have almost no objection to some of the traditions which involve simply nicking/notching the outer labia as a rite of passage – how different is that fundamentally to the piercing of earlobes? Once it gets beyond that, into excision of inner labia and/or clitoridectomry and/or infibulation, which are procedures which prevent women from feeling sexual pleasure and which gratuitously complicate the delivery of pregnancies and often result in incontinence consequences which lead to these women being shunned as unclean, then I strenuously object.
      However I still conclude that donating to charities on the ground, which provide reeducation against FGM for communities and, more crucially, alternate/better sources of income to the women who have traditionally performed these procedures on their community’s daughters, is the most pragmatic way forward for eradication of these toxic traditions.

  11. Orlando – thanks. I never got around to reading that one.
    Why did Greer adopt such unfeminist views I wonder? She does seem to have a case of the “I’ll be as contrarian as possible to get as much attention as possible” disease which is endemic with some columnists.
    Greer is the only candidate we’ve had so far. Is the popularity of the “feminists are fine with FGM” meme an offshoot of the “Germaine Greer = Feminism” meme, I wonder? It does seem to be a pervasive myth that feminism is a hivemind headed by Greer as the CEO or something.
    The suggestions for organisations to support are great (Katha Pollitt also does this from time to time.) I’ll update the post tomorrow with those links.
    TT likewise.

  12. I don’t think any normal person reacts with anything but with shock and horror to what happens to women in the world.
    I think when people raise the issue of cultural sensibilities they are not condoning barbaric practices, just pointing to a belief factor operating in a particular culture or subculture that would make what seems to us rational and humane reform, much more difficult to propose.
    If many of the people of offshore cultures genuinely believe something offends decencies, you will find resistance to it, the same as you would have forcing western women not to wear knickers on a windy day.
    I also believe that economics, poverty and war are playing a part, because social breakdown, to me, reinforces a very basic reactionary Hobbesian patriarchal conservatism. Western governments like failed states with dead-end ideologies, when they do regime change.

  13. I went back to read an old thread on LP (wipes nostalgic tear) by Kim, commenting on a MSM article by Pamela Bone.
    Here’s a comment (not the OP) by Kim herself:

    Where are the feminists, she asks? Well, they’re on blogs, and they’re working for NGOs, and they’re writing papers that seek to draw attention to the actual dimensions and complexity of this issue, in order to bring about real change. And they’re working in their own immediate sphere to bring about change, through education, through lobbying governments, through meetings, through all sorts of action.
    I’m sorry if they’re invisible to you and Bone.
    And I’m sorry if there’s some weirdassed orthodoxy that you only care about something if you express “outrage” and then march in the streets. Chris said it best early on the thread – whatever happened to pragmatism?
    But the question posed by several commenters remains a good one – why doesn’t she get off her bum and write something positive and constructive, given that she has a much more influential platform for disseminating her views than many of us [my emphasis]? Why does her supposed outrage have to lead her to attack others? And to do so in complete and probably wilful ignorance of what real feminists are actually doing?

    It’s interesting, instructive, and a little depressing, to note that everything she says about Bone’s article could pretty much be applied to Parashar’s.

  14. Sorry, I’m derailing my own thread :-D Still a call for links to feminists who excuse gendered violence because “culture”: I think we have about two-thirds of a Greer for our list; Any others? We are a bit thin on the ground here.

  15. Perhaps because my news is still quite UK-focused, I noticed quite a number of articles (particularly in the Guardian) and often by women who were of South-Asian descent discussing/ condemning these rapes. And, quite a few British feminist blogs pointed to the case (and the one that occurred shortly after) and particularly the on the ground reaction – although perhaps not with any nuanced commentary. But, what nuanced commentary can you give to something so horrendous?
    And then there were a couple of articles that rightly pointed the finger back at us and said ‘where is the outrage over rapes in our own country’? Especially as there was a gang rape going through the courts in the UK at that time (also involving men of South-Asian descent and which had caused quite a lot of racist commentary). And, I genuinely think for a lot of feminists, that we feel a bit like we can’t even solve the problems in our own backyard, so what right do we have to take some sort of stand on how other cultures behave? It’s not like we have some sort of solution that we can take up and hand out – and moreover, we acknowledge that our imperialist attempts to do just that in the past have created a whole lot of pain. This is not the same as saying that it’s not our problem or that violence against women is acceptable if it’s ‘part of culture’- it’s about recognising that we don’t have the answer and that we don’t have the right to march right in over the top of other people and impose our non-existant “solutions”.
    I also slightly worry about such demands for us in the west to help that come from other westerners and not from people on the ground – it’s like being nagged into imperialism.

  16. I think a lot of the dynamic is this:
    A —> B
    A —> X
    If we say A is ‘sati’
    and B is ‘that’s why we need a British presence in India’
    and X is ‘that’s why we need equality for women everywhere’
    People conflate opposition to A —> B as support for A

  17. It was interesting going back to Kim. The thread starter was actually quite prophetic in predicting the damage done by Bone, Albrechtsen, etc on this Cronulla Day anniversary.
    These people were less concerned for atrocities done women here or offshore than in the peddling of alibis for Western interventionism in the Middle East, employing Jones-style cultural reinforcement. A similar event took place with Fairfax re the long term preparations for the Intervention;the appeal of faux horror at “dirty” indigenous people, males in particular, the interests of some thing Howard and co had been cooking up since Mabo and wik, for the miners and graziers.
    It is another case of superstructure mistaken for base and a Barthes like assessment that behind the shopfront, the facade, are slithery attempts derived of false consciousness, attempting to divide the left on the most heartfelt of issues and obscure the detailing and remedying of issues both of social reproduction here and parallel to it, the maintaining of the mess that is the post-colonial world in the delusion-infected interests of the cocooned zombies of Wall St, Zurich, City of London and so forth- the one percent.
    There is no doubt that the simulacra of a society that is much of Africa (or ours?) includes the gfm component, or at best matters little to those who could do most to change things.
    Personally, it’s hard not to get past the sense that our system is predicated on the suffering you’d expect a child to suffer undergoing gfm (yes, have seen the docos from the boondoggles where they are performing it of screaming kids, out in the dust, using tin can lids and broken bottles).
    And I suspect that the people running things would not change things if they felt there was even the faintest chance of jeopardy to their own comfortable positions, this is now the dominant ideology.

  18. OK, here’s a potential candidate: Someone in offline conversation says that Melbourne University academic Juliet Rogers is often criticised (wrongly) for being “For FGM”.
    Notice here that subjects like FGM are being conflated with the subject of the post – but I think it’s inevitable as they are all conflated, in the eyes of conservatives / Decent Left / Tele commdenters under the “It’s their culture!” meme.
    So I went looking. I found this article: Here’s a kind of a digest, not exhaustive, for those to whom the original might be a bit TL;DR, and I wouldn’t blame you. So, to bullet-point it:
    *In the 90s, legislation against FGM was introduced, but without adequate consultation with the communities concerned.
    *There is a “Western imaginary” of FGM which is based on the worst cases – a little girl being held down screaming while an extreme form of FGM is performed using a razor blade or sharp stone.
    *This leads to a pervasive *fantasy* of the westerner as imaginary onlooker and rescuer. (There’s a passage later about how this plays out in Freud’s writing, but I’ll skip that)
    *Since “we” (white society) are the all-good rescuers and the repository of “rational” law and society, we don’t examine our own practices of genital cutting – circumcision of boys, cosmetic surgery, and surgery to modify genitals of infants who don’t stack up with essentialist gender ideas.
    *Western women obsess about the importance of the clitoris much as Western men do about the penis [I disagree with this point. One shouldn’t remove either from another person’s body, barring cancer or elective sexual reassignment. Clitoridectomy is the serious end of the scale and the decision to do so should be the person’s own. But I do agree with the point that having had such surgery/cutting, it would be wrong to claim the person was not a woman or had lost her essence somehow.]
    She also says
    “The concern of this article is not the cultural relativist or culturally sensitive approach that an ethics of alterity argument about female circumcision might demand, nor how this demand might be enacted in law.”
    Yeah I have many points of divergence with Rogers. I agree that in the conversation (if you can call the calls for Loud Denunciation and criticism of feminists for being “silent” a conversation, that is), the critics never examine our own practices, see above. People like Greer mention them and are attacked for “false equivalence.” But is it? Are people never damaged by unnecessary cosmetic surgery or unthinking sexual reassignment surgery when they’re too young to consent? Is there nothing grotesque about our “elective” surgery – like young women who get breast enlargements so big they’re shown on the net as cautionary tales – are they really rational agents in a liberal society or is there some kind of compulsion to look a certain way for the benefit of male society? I think you already know the answer to that. So where *some* kinds of FGM (or FGC) are trivial and symbolic, and don’t lead to physical pain or debilitation, where’s the difference? As usual, we fail to examine ourselves, or are berated for doing so because you know how dare you criticise Western society where women have everything shut up.
    Where I think Rogers fails is where she addressed the more severe forms of FGM. We know they do exist – see the opening paragraph of the article, and we know that sometimes gynaecologists have some work to do to make sure women birth safely. So it’s not nothing. I agree that it has become a fantasy for people who like to imagine themselves as rescuers and punishers, and these people do nothing to fix anything. But I think she does handwave away this worse end of the spectrum somewhat.
    My conclusion? I don’t think Rogers is all “Yay FGM” but her dense and sometimes impenetrable analysis (Lacan, Foucault, oy, you lost me) doesn’t really bring us any closer to a solution. And I do think little girls need their clits until they’re old enough to decide whether they want them or not. And I think there’s a simpler analysis to be had, but you know, won’t make this comment any longer.
    There is no evidence on what Juliet Rogers thinks about the gang rape in Delhi and there is no evidence (I googled to find out) that she thinks it’s all fine because Culture.

  19. I haven’t talked about this much publicly, but I’ve developed a position, not on FGM, but on sex-selective abortion, which could easily look like “all fine because Culture”.
    The reading and research I’ve done on sex-selective abortion in India is that it isn’t sex-selective abortion that is the problem, it’s a much larger and messy social issue involving dowries, the way that wives become part of their husbands’ families, the need for (adult) children to do elder care, etc.
    Girls are a net cost to the parents who raise them, because they will need a dowry, and then those adult women will be benefitting their in-laws, in particular caring for their elderly in-laws, not their own parents.
    Nevertheless, there is surprisingly little sign of sex-selective abortion for first children – Indians are generally happy to take the luck of the draw. It’s particularly once a family consists of two daughters and no sons, that a third daughter becomes a real problem – not least to her older sisters, because it will become harder for them to get a good marriage with less dowry, and the family won’t be getting income from a son.
    It’s a horribly sexist system in so many ways, and seriously, at the end of the day, a sex-selective abortion when a family is faced with a third daughter and no sons, is quite probably the least harmful option – the mother will not need to go through who knows how many pregnancies and births until a son turns up, the existing daughters (and mother and father) will experience less family stress and hardship, the unwanted girl child will not exist rather than be subjected to all kinds of abuse up to and including exposure and other infanticide.
    I am certainly not in a position to fix the entrenched sexism of the Indian social system, and in the meantime, I totally understand why a pregnant woman may chose an abortion purely based on the fetus’ gender, and it’s not a matter of (overt) family pressure or “hating women” but the best choice given her own knowledge of her circumstances.
    (I was also struck by the similarity to the Western abortion debate, where it’s often ignored that the majority of abortions are performed on women who are already mothers.)

  20. Yes you’re looking at the kyriarchy behind the curtain which is moving it all, Aqua.
    Sex selective abortion – it’s the family inheritance and other patriarchal structures which need to go.
    FGM – It’s the concept that a girl will be unmarriageable without it which makes it so “necessary” to the people who enforce it.
    Gang rape – the whole concept of men being 1) entitled to sex and 2) unable to control their bestial urges, and the rest of rape culture, which I don’t think is really essentially different worldwide.
    There are things behind these phenomena which if not addressed, mean that any legal or police/military “solution” keeps failing.

  21. I have a lot to say since the author has brought my earlier piece in the write-up. The point is clearly against cultural relativism when it comes to VAW. Women are now facing extreme forms of sexual violence in Egypt, are we going to stand with them or say, its not our business. I have repeatedly said diversity and differnce is imp. in feminist scholarship but increasingly I see self censorship, silence or open criticism of anyone taking a tough stance against cultural relativism. Mona Ehtawy’s piece was disrespectfully criticised by many feminists, Wilde-Blavatsky’s piece on the burqa was ecnsored by the feminist wire after a written petition signed by academics and abusive messages posted against her for not understanding cultures…etc. i have other such examples. As a feminist from the global south myself I see western feminism struggling more with identity politics and cultural relativism…and to be honest, I do think its a war on women everywhere and transnational feminist networks need to work together and not engage merely in the politics of diversity and difference…The author has clearly misunderstood my point..I wasn’t targetting Australian feminism in particular…But tough questions need to be asked…..anyways, here’s my latest piece that captures some of the issues I have raised. best wishes. Swati
    http://www.e-ir.info/2013/02/11/the-delhi-rape-case-rethinking-feminism-and-violence-against-women/

  22. and one more minor point. The woman who died in the gang rape is referred to as Amanat or Nirbhaya in the Indian media who are strictly protecting her identity. Her name was published by a newspaper in UK without her family’s explicit permission. They denied that they consented to her name being used. They only wanted her name in the anti-rape legislation in India. In anycase, that name is inaccurate. It is out of feminist solidarity and empathy for the family that we should refrain from using the name. Thanks.

  23. Thanks for the link Swati.

  24. The woman who died in the gang rape is referred to as Amanat or Nirbhaya in the Indian media who are strictly protecting her identity. Her name was published by a newspaper in UK without her family’s explicit permission. They denied that they consented to her name being used. They only wanted her name in the anti-rape legislation in India. In anycase, that name is inaccurate. It is out of feminist solidarity and empathy for the family that we should refrain from using the name. Thanks.

    See, this is exactly the kind of reason why I wasn’t going to wade in with my big boots on immediately following the Delhi gang rape and was more inclined to listen to what people “on the ground” and their countrypeople in Australia wanted to say about it. Now I have published the name on the basis that the media reported it. It’s precisely that kind of mistake that characterises the white-saviour, loud-denunciation approach to VAW in other countries. That’s why my initial instinct was to shut up and listen, and it appears I would have been right. (The name has been redacted now.)
    Work pressures prevent me from reading your link Swati or responding to the rest of your post, but hopefully I will find time soon. I have to say, though, that concrete examples of women who are approving violence against women in the global South on the grounds of cultural relativism are thin on the ground so far, as you have seen on this thread. Some actual cut and pastes with links would be great…

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