What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Cultural Violence’?

Culture is the ideas, social behaviours and traditions or customs of a particular society or group.

Cultural violence occurs when an someone is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her culture or tradition.  In patriarchal societies male violence against women is cultural, it is normalised, it functions as a cause and consequence of inequality between women and men.

In the UK, for April 2014, we could represent cultural violence like this:

April 201 - 15 women

(Left to right. Top row: Doreen Walker, Senga Closs, Kayleigh Palmer, Image to represent Sandra Boakes, Yvette Hallsworth; Middle row: Isabelle Sanders, Judith Nibbs, Pauline Butler, Angela Smeaton, Doreen Webb; Bottom row: Image to represent Elaine Duncan, Malgorzata Dantes, Ann Maguire, Carol Dyson, Susan Ashworth).     

The fifteen women above were all killed in the UK in April 2014. The primary suspects alleged to have killed them are all male.  Fatal male violence against women in the UK is so normalised that only the killing of one of these women made a significant impact on the media.  In the UK, the predominant culture makes fatal male violence against women invisible, it is rarely named as a cultural practice and there is resistance to attempts made to do so.

The woman killed though alleged male violence in the UK in April 2014 were aged between 16 and 75 years old.  Their killers were aged between 15 and 79 years old.  The men who allegedly killed the women made the following choices: One to kill a woman through multiple injuries, one to kill a woman through head injuries, one to strangle a woman, one to decapitate a woman, one to smoother a woman, one to kill her in a house fire or use a house fire to disguise his method of killing and seven to stab women to death  The methods by which two women were killed have not been made publicly available, we don’t yet know about the choices the men made who killed them. At least eight men are alleged to have killed a partner or former partner, one is alleged to have killed one of his teachers and one is alleged to have killed his mother. The relationship between alleged perpetrator and victim has not been released in four cases when men killed women in the UK in April 2014.

In the UK, if asked to describe the term ‘cultural violence’ in relation to April 2014, do we think about these fifteen dead women? If not, we should.




2 thoughts on “What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Cultural Violence’?

  1. Pingback: News Round Up Week Ending 11 May 2014 | End Online Misogyny

  2. ‘Cultural violence?’ Ah yes that is racist violence is it not – wherein it is white men who make the choice to commit violence against non-white men. Now everyday male violence against women and girls in all its forms is not ‘cultural violence’ because it is just males enacting their right to dominate and punish women/girls who in the male perpetrator’s(s) view have not shown sufficient respect and deference to the superior male!

    Reason why only one incident of pandemic male violence against women was widely reported in malestream media is not because the male perpetrator is male neither was it because his victim is female. No it was because the female victim could be eulogised and exploited by malestream media and male politicians.

    The female teacher’s sex is erased by malestream media and male politicians because eulogising about her career in teaching neatly deflects attention away from the fact a 15 year old boy made the choice to cold bloodedly murder a woman. Yes this male murdered a woman because there were many witnesses to his act of lethal male violence. But we mustn’t see ‘elephant in the room’ because it was male hatred of females which caused male to commit violence – no it was something else! Now racism is different because racism affects non-white men so therefore racism is real whereas pandemic male hatred/male contempt for women and girl isn’t real because males are not the ones being subjected to such hatred.

    Malestream media and male politicians continue to enact ‘three wise monkeys stance’ because they will not accept pandemic and all too commonly lethal male violence against women and girls continues. Men cannot and must not accept this fact because if they were to do so it would mean men having to accept Male Supremacist System exists and male created institutions such as mens’ legal system continue to justify/excuse/minimalise/condone pandemic male violence against women and girls.

    Instead men continue hysterically claiming ‘wah violence happens and it happens because humans commit said violence.’ ‘Humans’ means men because unless women specifically are mentioned the default human is always male, according to men.

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