Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall: PYO Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall!

Patriarchy manifests itself as the oldest universal oppression felt by women – reaching across class, racial and national lines through varying degrees. October is designated as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” nationwide. Domestic violence affects women and children, as well as men. However, the brunt of domestic violence is felt by women at a much higher rate.1

Patriarchal violence is not something that can be reformed; it has a history reaching back thousands of years, and is now repackaged and reproduced by capitalist society on a psycho-ideological level as well as a physical one. Whether it is through emotional or physical abuse, the feminization/pinkification of certain industries, gender roles, sexual harassment, restrictions on women’s health or the gender wage gap, the intersections of institutional and societal sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia and xenophobia all serve to amplify, and often justify, the atrocities perpetuated by a patriarchal system. All these issues together play as an act of violence against women, and they are fundamental to maintaining the structures that support modern day late-capitalism.

One issue kept out of mainstream feminism conversation is how intimate partner violence (IPV) disproportionately affects oppressed peoples; this includes women of color, immigrant women, and the LGBTQ community. For example, immigrant women are less likely to report abuse, as opposed to citizen women; this is due to various reasons. Some of the most significant causes are: fear of deportation, economic abuse/violence and the fact that in their countries of origin, certain forms of violence are not considered crimes or these crimes/aggressions are too common and even accepted as normal and to be expected in relationships.2 Another example are First Nations women, who experience IPV at higher rates than anyone else3 and where domestic violence is “…a relatively new phenomenon in Native American culture. Abuse of both Native American women and children by Native American men can be traced to the introduction of alcohol, Christianity, and the European hierarchical family structure.”4 In addition, a 2014 study of LGBTQ and HIV-affected IPV, found that “Economic violence is often a central form of abuse within IPV, and survivors who face societal economic vulnerabilities may be more vulnerable to economic abuse and exploitation from their abusive partners.”5

Given these realities, we feel that while it is important to acknowledge and participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we must go beyond one month and acknowledge that violence is a daily reality for many women living in a patriarchal society dominated by the interests of capital. We must organize to reject and fight these realities and create a new paradigm. As a proletarian feminist organization we condemn all violence that affects women, while paying special attention to the voices left out of mainstream liberal feminist dialogue. As proletarian feminists we speak in a collective voice to amplify the voices of working women, trans and lesbian women, poor women, women of color and immigrant women. We acknowledge the reality that capitalism itself is an act of violence against women of the world. To fight patriarchy at the structural level we must fight it inside the home, the workplace, the schools and the world at large. We can no longer lie down and accept band-aid solutions to this systemic violence; we must fight for alternative solutions outside the system and dismantle patriarchy at its roots.



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