The notions and strategies of colonial domination are used by patriarchy to continue male dominance over women. We need to counter claims that colonization has led to violence against women, by pointing out that there is in fact a tight connection between colonization and patriarchy. Some would even say that you could not have colonization without patriarchy. The institutions of colonization rely on political power, access to resources, and strategies of oppression. Patriarchy and colonization go hand in hand and it is this nexus that keeps the structures of gender violence so well entrenched.

Most activists do not excuse male violence because of colonization; although the men in our communities use this argument in their own defense: because they cannot, or will not, or feel threatened about, taking responsibility for their violence against women. So, they resort to blaming the white colonizers. We must not allow that analysis to dominate and resist the ways our own communities force us to silence, hurt, oppress, and disrespect the voices of women. It is up to us to ensure that women’s suffering, struggles, and strengths are not dishonored.

Related Resources

Lifecourse Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking among Filipina, Indian, and Pakistani Women, 2010

IPV often recurs over the lifecourse and survivors’ decisions to seek help are shaped by their history of positive and negative experiences of help-seeking, and because their preferred and actual sources of help change over time. Using the Life History Calendar to interview 143 Filipina, Indian and Pakistani domestic violence survivors, this research enhances our understanding of help-seeking over the lifecourse and makes recommendations for system responses to domestic violence in Asian communities.

by Val Kalei Kanuha, Ph.D.


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