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Culture & Human Rights: Challenging Cultural Excuses for Gender-Based Violence
In collaboration with Gender Across Borders, we welcome you to a blogging series exploring the relationship between culture and violence against women.
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines “violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Webster’s dictionary defines culture as “the behaviours and beliefs characteristic to a particular group.” But who defines the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in a particular group or culture?
The personal narratives, journalistic articles, analytical pieces, critical essays and editorials that poured in from all corners of the world highlight how, regardless of who we are, and where we are, we all come face to face with 'cultural' arguments for gender-based violence.
Yet in every instance where ‘culture’ is used to impose control over women’s bodies, sexuality, emotions, decisions and actions, preventing them from expressing their own free will and enjoying their fundamental freedoms and human rights - we see individuals resisting and fighting back.
This series is itself a part of that process. Whether tackling issues such as rape, domestic violence, forced marriages, polygamy, female genital mutilation, harmful menstruation rituals, and much more, this series demonstrates that cultural evolution starts with each one of us.
We would like to thank everyone who sent in submissions, and we are especially grateful to Tanya Castle at Gender Across Borders for coordinating the series. We were, and remain, immensely moved and inspired by each contributor and hope you will too!