Gendered Violence

Minority communities are not monolithic. However, in many cases, the diversity within the minority groups is ignored by individuals who are directed by preconception, and those with positive intentions, for instance, those who wish to accommodate minority group’s culture entirely (Nagra, 2018). In the meantime, women’s aspiration from minority communities is often forfeited by internal community crescendos to demands for loyalty to the wider society struggles before matters concerning women’s rights and feminism can be promoted or advanced. In many scenarios, women’s self-realisation is often sacrificed for ideas of group solidarity and culture into which women have had minimal input (Shanthakumari, Chandra, Riazantseva & Stewart, 2014). This paper, therefore, explores how the discourses, interlocking systems of oppression, and intersecting identities condition indigenous, Muslim, and black women’s vulnerability to different forms of violence, institutional, interpersonal, societal, and state response to victimisation, the triple repercussion, and cost of the violence alongside the resistance tactics and strategies that can be drawn upon against such forms of violence.

Gendered Violence

Minority women continue to face different forms of violence, marginalisation, and discrimination emanating from their identities as women and members of underprivileged communities (Neuenfeldt, 2015). For instance, patriarchal violence impacts women’s lives from all walks of life, in every community, and across every continent in the world. It is the definitive expression of gender disparity, often committed by partners, members of the family, and state and non-state players. It also aids in maintaining women’s subservience to an imbalanced gender order, violating their rights to physical integrity, and denying them the opportunity to enjoy every facet of their human rights (Shanthakumari, Chandra, Riazantseva & Stewart, 2014).

Gender violence limits women’s freedom, access to quality education and quality healthcare, work opportunities, participation in civic, political, and economic aspects of life. However, there is under reporting of the physical, emotional, and sexual violence experienced by women due to fear of reprisal or blame for the abuse and shame. There is a general notion that police will do little to offer assistance where women’s rights are abused. Some women, particularly from disadvantaged groups or less educated ones, may fail to realize that the experiences they are undergoing constitutes a form of violence and violation of their fundamental human rights (Shanthakumari, Chandra, Riazantseva & Stewart, 2014), and they continue to suffer in silence. Within each society, globally, there are activist groups, particularly among minority and indigenous women, trying to address the violence against women and their communities at large. However, in some societies, such leadership roles are often met with opposition from the male compatriots who have formed negative perceptions about the relevance of female activism (Nagra, 2018), making it a challenge to advocate for women’s rights prevent the persistent violation.


Discourse, Intersectional, and Interlocking Analysis

While gendered violence happens universally, gender relationships do exist in a vacuity. Discourses, intersections and interlocking of various systems of inequity and oppression and domination combine to establish a multifaceted subject position for women, in which women experiences are designed based on linguistic, religious and ethnic identities alongside other factors such as sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, and geographic location, building stratums of victimisation and discrimination against some women. “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2011″ presented a persuasive picture of the different kinds of experiences that women from minority, marginalized, and evicted populations displaced from their communities because of wars, biased government policies, alongside the actions of political, economics and private social interest groups experience. Women from minority groups, including blacks, Muslim and indigenous communities in America and Canadian geographies, face various violence systems with little access to justice and support services. Women from such minority groups stand at the juncture of gender and ethnic/racial discrimination; they face discrimination because of their identities as women and marginalised communities (Allen & Xanthaki, 2011).

Because of their identities as minority communities, black, Muslim, and indigenous women may be assaulted by others from majority groups and sometimes state agents. Rowland and Carnegie (2011), in their conversation with women from the minority communities in North Caucasus, Russian Federation, established that authorities were specifically targeting women from minority groups, including the Chechen, as they were assuming major responsibilities in their communities while men were absent due to terrorist activities or forced disappearances, during the 2006 Russian Violent racism that almost went out of control. The women from the Muslim communities wearing headscarves were subjected to different forms of stigmatisations, including arbitrary detentions and strip searches (Rowland & Carnegie 2011). Report in conflict zones, including North Caucasus, suggest increased rapes and other sexual assaults against women from minority communities occurring at alarming rates. Likewise, women in tension areas also report various forms of ill-treatment, including torture due to their group affiliation. For instance, women Muslim women in tension areas have been mistreated because of the alleged involvement or affiliations with terrorist groups (Shanthakumari, Chandra, Riazantseva & Stewart, 2014). The different forms of assaults subject women to further vulnerabilities of ostracism and abuse within their societies, where the strict patriarchal morality code subject them to being accused of dishonoring themselves and their families (Allen & Xanthaki, 2011).

In cases where women are not targeted based on their indigenous identities or minority status, the economic, social, geographical, and political marginalisation of specific minority populations can leave women from such groups disproportionately vulnerable to exploitation, exclusion, and many other forms abuse. In some geographies where particular minority tribes have no legal status, such as the hill tribe population in northern Thailand, women and girls become easy targets for ills such as sex trafficking. Lack of citizenship not only denies women from minority groups access to employment opportunities, education, and public health services, but such marginalisation may as well subject them to being an easy target for sex traffickers (Rowland & Carnegie 2011). In other places, women migrant domestic labours are susceptible to sexual, physical, and psychological abuse by their employers because of the isolation, immigration, and employment status, which are dependent on the employer (Allen & Xanthaki, 2011).

Black, Muslims, and women from minority indigenous groups also face the risk of violence from within their communities and social institutions. In most cases, the violence is justified based on tradition or culture, ignoring the fact that some practices may subdue women, rendering them as only servants to the minority groups, while violating the women’s fundamental human rights. The risk is compounded by the fact that support and redress systems for such women are not accessible or may not be available at all. Indigenous, black, and Muslim worldwide, particularly in western societies, face multiple discriminations and exclusions irrespective of their proportion. For instance, in some regions such as Guatemala, the indigenous population and, by extension, the indigenous women face multiple discrimination and exclusions from the mainstream establishments and are deprived of the general public resources (Rowland & Carnegie 2011).

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The majority of the indigenous settings’ remoteness alongside language barrier has also been cited as contributing factors to gendered violence among the indigenous and minority population. The variables make it a challenge for the indigenous women and those from the minority communities to escape abusive relationships and live an autonomous life. Lack of trust in the authorities alongside the pressure to sustain community cohesion makes it unbearable for some women to report domestic violence incidences despite the high occurrence levels. Women may also fail to report domestic abuse or seek assistance from conventional institutions, particularly where they consider such institutions unfamiliar to their culture (Rowland & Carnegie 2011). Such incidences are common mainly to the immigrant women.

The immigration policies and laws have also been cited as a barrier for women from minority populations to access assistance when they fall victim to gendered violence. Some immigrant women remain trapped in abusive relationships because they fear deportation or are undocumented migrants, and their immigration statuses are dependent on the partner (Rowland & Carnegie 2011). Anecdotal and empirical studies globally disclose that minority and indigenous confront many problems, which by their design are multifaceted and intersectional. In many cases, such women are faced with the dual task of either defending their rights as an excluded fraction within the dominant society with its indifferent or repressive state apparatuses, prejudiced public opinion, and discriminatory institutions and laws. Simultaneously, such women may also be resisting or questioning patriarchal and static cultures prevailing within their communities, promoted by gendered subordination and abuse of women’s rights (Shanthakumari, Chandra, Riazantseva & Stewart, 2014).

Cost of Gender-Based Violence

The cost of gendered violence against girls and women impacts on the quality of life, and intangible suffering including mental and physical health costs to the survivors and their families, affecting their employment and income, and children. Besides the short-term and direct consequences, study shows that children who witness gendered violence often are likely to develop behavioral and emotional challenges, perform dismally in classwork, and are at risk of experiencing the same kind of gendered violence in the future (Rowland & Carnegie 2011). The costs and repercussions of gender-based violence can last for as long as a decade or a century. Children who experience gendered domestic violence at higher risk of developing low self-esteem, depression and anxiety disorders, underperformance in school, among many other challenges that harm their personal development and overall wellbeing (Peacock & Barker 2014).  

Besides, sexual violence deprives young girls of education opportunities. In some jurisdictions, girls are even sexually abused by their teachers, and they face hostility after reporting the cases of assaults, forcing some of them to leave or change schools. Violence against women also has a cost implication of economic productivity and public budgets. For instance, gender-based violence has become an enormous to indirect and direct cost on the public, survivors, employer, legal, health, and related expenditures alongside lost productivity and wages (Peacock & Barker 2014). Employers and businesses also experience financial losses because of absenteeism due to health consequences hindering the victims from working, imprisonment of the perpetrators, and expenditures related to extra security measures required in the workplace.

Resistance Strategies and Tactic to Gendered Violence

            Minority and indigenous women have never been passive in the face of gender-based violence and related problems. They are exploiting various strategies to encounter both private and public forms of discrimination collectively and at individual levels. Awareness-raising campaigns and various other projects influence women’s mobilization and empowerment in their quest for dignity, equality, and security for themselves and their communities (Peacock & Barker 2014). Such moves strive to facilitate dialogue between the worldwide women’s movement and various human rights activist organizations across various jurisdictions.

            Other organizations such as the UN and other human rights groups worldwide are promoting access to education and reduction in poverty levels as one way of tackling gendered violence. Research shows that the duration an individual takes in school positively correlates to reducing future discrimination and perpetration of sexual and physical violence. Women’s empowerment through access to education and, subsequently, an increase in income translates to the reduction in the unequal power relationship between men and women, which in the long-term positively impact gendered violence. Another strategy is increasing women’s participation in politics and governance, which has been achieved through women’s efforts to vie for direct political positions and push for their rights through policymaking, including introducing gender rule bills (Peacock & Barker 2014). The efforts are so far yielding fruits in many parts of the world.


This essay’s focal point includes the discourses, interlocking systems of oppression, and intersecting identities that condition indigenous, Muslim, and black women’s vulnerability to different forms of violence, institutional, interpersonal, societal, and state response victimisation, the triple repercussion, and cost of the violence. The paper also discusses the resistance tactics and strategies drawn against such forms of violence. Minority and indigenous women worldwide are faced with different forms of violence, including sexual and physical abuse, marginalization, and discrimination. The problems come from their identity as women and members of disadvantaged communities, and course a myriad of harm including, emotional, psychological and physical torture, and several other costs to the public. Several strategies have been adopted, including empowering women economically through access to education to reduce the gap between power relations and women participating in politics and governance. However, empirical evidence indicates that some of these women’s efforts to fight for their rights as minority groups are thwarted by their communities. As such, this paper concludes by proposing and recommending that for the struggle by women from the indigenous and minority group for social justice to be successful and legitimate, these communities must also identify and address human rights challenges, including discrimination and violence against women that happen right from their community, committed by their people.


Allen, S., & Xanthaki, A. (Eds.) (2011). Reflections on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Nagra, B. (2018). Cultural explanations of patriarchy, race, and everyday lives: Marginalizing and “othering” Muslim women in Canada. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 38(2), 263-279.

Neuenfeldt, E. (2015). Identifying and dismantling patriarchy and other systems of oppression of women: Gender analysis, feminist theology, and the church in mission. International Review of Mission, 104(1), 18-25.

Peacock, D., & Barker, G. (2014). Working with men and boys to prevent gender-based violence: Principles, lessons learned, and ways forward. Men and masculinities, 17(5), 578-599.

Rowland, C., & Carnegie, M. (2011). Violence against women in the indigenous, minority, and migrant groups. In-State of the world’s minorities and indigenous peoples 2011: events of 2010 (pp. 32-41). Minority Rights Group International.

Shanthakumari, R. S., Chandra, P. S., Riazantseva, E., & Stewart, D. E. (2014). ‘Difficulties come to humans and not trees, and they need to be faced’: A study on resilience among Indian women experiencing intimate partner violence. International journal of social psychiatry, 60(7), 703-710.