“The private is political!”

Every time I come back here I seem to be back to apologizing for not coming back enough. I blame being in England for so long, it has made me terribly apologetic. Also, I was finishing my MA dissertation! – Yes… I positively had to sneak that fact in. Well, it left me wanting to write a blog post. I know, after writing 40 pages, you would think that I would have written everything that I wanted to write. Not really… You guys know me better than that.

I wanted to write about “The private is political!”. Those famous words that finally brought attention to the rising issue of domestic and inter-partner violence. Patriarchy or power relations are very entrenched in our society and in our way of living, so understanding how those systems work helps breaking those cycles.

For years, Feminist activists have highlighted the problems of the private and public divide. Especially, regarding domestic violence. The private is considered the “family” matter and all “issues” should be dealt within privately. Only… That is not an option when domestic violence is on the table. At what stage are we deeming violence acceptable?

This is how entrenched these power relations are in our society and how deep they run. When we create hierarchies between public and private, we create hierarchies of meaning and consequently of violence. Deeming some victims more worthy than others.

We have to keep questioning those so-called values that make women vulnerable to certain types of violence, while at the same time questioning the system that further victimizes them. For decades, unfortunately for many women, this was just another inevitable aspect of being a woman, but progress is being made. Only this year, – yeap, that’s right 2013 – Saudi Arabia has outlawed domestic violence. We may question how effective this law would be, but at the same time, this show a major progress. It shows that the State finally acknowledges the women are human beings, not part of their husband’s possessions and they have the right to a life free of fear.

Posted originally at World Pulse on 4 September 2013.

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