Violence against Women and Human Rights: From Local to Global Perspectives
By the turn of the twenty-first century, violence against women had become one of the most important markers of women’s human rights. Embodied in international instruments like the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Rome Statute, sexualized violence has become one of the key priorities of international feminism and of women’s human rights writ large. As numerous scholars of the past quarter century have discussed, the language of human rights is a powerful one. Tying a conception of rights to the fundamental premise of humanity invokes ideas of universality that transcend geographical boundaries and cultural differences. However, despite this discourse of globality, human rights are constantly negotiated between local and global spheres. As this panel seeks to explore, the relationship between local and global histories shapes the way in which human rights are defined, as well as how they are negotiated in disparate geographical and political contexts
The three papers in this panel explore different facets of the relationship between local and global conceptions of violence and women’s human rights. In her paper On Feminicidio and Due Diligence: State Responsibility and Human Rights Practices in Latin America to Combat the Killing of Women, Paulina Garcia Del Moral explores the way in which human rights of women are practiced within the Latin American state. Through an analysis of key cases brought before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Garcia del Moral discusses how state responsibility for ensuring women’s protection from violence is negotiated and, reciprocally, when states are held accountable for failing to recognize the principles embodied by the court. Zain Lakhani and Deneil K Hill’s papers explore different strands of the tether between American conceptions of sexual violence and the discourse of global rights. Lakhani’s paper Bodily Harms: Violence and Bodily Integrity in America’s Global Platform on Human Rights explores how changes to the political significance of bodily integrity shaped the definitions of violence against women carried by American feminists into the global sphere. It locates these changes within a longer history of debate over the meaning of rape and violence within arenas of domestic debate. Hill similarly traces the domestic histories of global change. Her paper Shifting Feminist Visions at the UN: Self-Determination, Sexuality, and Violence against Women, 1975-1995 explores how ideas of self-determination and sexual rights became intertwined in a global discourse bodily and sexual control.