Special Issue "Selected Papers from the Conference on Global Status of Women and Girls: Understanding, Defining, and Preventing Violence"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Lori Underwood

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA 23606, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Terrorism studies; Kant studies; logic and critical thinking; epistemology; legal reasoning; philosophy of law
Guest Editor
Prof. Dawn Hutchinson

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA 23606, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: American religious history; historical methods; African-American religious history; American new religious movements; religious studies theory and methods; comparative religions; Judaism and Christianity; contemporary Gnosticism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Christopher Newport University’s College of Arts and Humanities will be holding its conference on the Global Status of Women and Girls at CNU, March 24–26, 2017. The theme for this year’s conference is: Understanding, Defining, and Preventing Violence.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to foster inquiries into the complex and multifocal issues faced by women and girls around the world, both historically and today. We have invited scholars from all academic disciplines to submit proposals addressing the political, social, economic, psychological, developmental, educational, literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, ethical and health issues of women and girls. The conference seeks not only to clarify key questions that must be asked in this vital area of public policy, but also to unearth the forces that created these current dilemmas. Through the interdisciplinary study of past and present, the conference will engage researchers in policy conversations benefiting the global community.

Submissions from any academic discipline—including but not limited to history, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, psychology, chemistry, environmental science, medicine, biomedical ethics, economics, political science, gender studies, communication studies and literature—are welcome. We are inviting professionals in both academic and non-academic settings to submit proposals. The best submissions from the conference will be published in a special issue of Social Sciences.

Prof. Lori Underwood
Prof. Dawn Hutchinson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sexual Harassment/Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Cyberbullying/Electronic Aggression
  • Violence against Immigrants and Refugees
  • Violence against LGBTQ
  • Economic Issues
  • Religious Issues
  • Educational Issues
  • Family Violence
  • Poverty/Stratification

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Syrian Women and the Refugee Crisis: Surviving the Conflict, Building Peace, and Taking New Gender Roles
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030110
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Women and men experience conflicts differently. Women, even as non-combatants, suffer a great harm. Wars are gendered, both in causes and consequences. Women are deliberately excluded from formal peace negotiations. Work done for the reconstruction of conflict ridden societies, fail to recognize with
[...] Read more.
Women and men experience conflicts differently. Women, even as non-combatants, suffer a great harm. Wars are gendered, both in causes and consequences. Women are deliberately excluded from formal peace negotiations. Work done for the reconstruction of conflict ridden societies, fail to recognize with women’s realities and needs. Despite that, women have remained influential at the grassroots level in peace-building and rehabilitation. The paper uses the example of Syria, to explore beyond the most prominent perception of women borne out of an armed conflict, i.e., of the ‘victims of war’ and assesses, in how many different ways women have survived the Syrian conflict and have made efforts for peace, informally and formally, challenging the narrative of women as just a group with special needs and requirements. For this purpose, the paper has content analysis of the previous research, data, reports, mainstream news articles, and other relevant information on the topics of housing, food, health, work and financial security, changed roles, isolation, and gender-based violence to understand how women’s role in all these spheres are shaping new narratives for women, peace and security, distinct from the prevalent existing ones. Full article
Open AccessArticle “How Can You Write About a Person Who Does Not Exist?”: Rethinking Pseudonymity and Informed Consent in Life History Research
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030086
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
This methodology paper recommends that, when possible, qualitative research on activism should be designed to enable each participant to choose between using a pseudonym and one’s actual name. The stance is informed by life history data collection encounters with women in post-conflict settings
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This methodology paper recommends that, when possible, qualitative research on activism should be designed to enable each participant to choose between using a pseudonym and one’s actual name. The stance is informed by life history data collection encounters with women in post-conflict settings whose activism seeks to eliminate violence against women and girls (VAWG). The benefits of accommodating a mix of names make this a viable alternative to the prevalent practice of obscuring all participants’ identities with pseudonyms. Writing about participants in a way that does no harm to them depends on the care and attention with which the researcher ascribes or dissociates data to or from them, regardless of the name used. Process consent is desirable as participants’ consent is not fully informed prior to data collection. One aspect of informed consent worthy of attention is the need to explain the methods of data analysis and presentation of findings to life history participants. The above practices help ensure that negotiating informed consent with participants whilst acting towards the principle of doing no harm are tailored to the particular features of the life history method. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Feminisms and the Hijāb: Not Mutually Exclusive
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030080
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
The hijab (veil) is the traditional head covering worn by Muslim women throughout the world. In the West, the hijab has come to symbolize an assumed institutionalized oppression of all women in the Muslim world. Many outside Western observers believe that women who
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The hijab (veil) is the traditional head covering worn by Muslim women throughout the world. In the West, the hijab has come to symbolize an assumed institutionalized oppression of all women in the Muslim world. Many outside Western observers believe that women who wear a veil are forced to wear it, whether by families, husbands, or governments, and examples of the extremes—Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia—are often considered the norm for all Muslim countries. In reality, the situation is more complex. Using a survey done at the Gulf University for Science & Technology in Kuwait in 2013 (published as “The Veil in Kuwait, Gender, Fashion, Identity”), not only religious concerns but also social and cultural considerations, personal taste and identity, geographic location, socio-economic level, and occasionally conscious rejections of Western influence can all play a part in the decision whether or not to wear a veil. In this preliminary study, I consider this survey as a case study, together with the theory of post-colonial feminism, to find a more nuanced and realistic understanding about the hijab as well as contributing to the development of less Western-oriented definitions of feminism. Full article
Open AccessArticle ‘When She Calls for Help’—Domestic Violence in Christian Families
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030071
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
Violence in relationships is a common experience for a significant number of women. VicHealth (Australia) has noted that one of the underlying and contributing factors towards violence against women is their environment, citing ‘faith-based institutions’ such as churches as one such environment for
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Violence in relationships is a common experience for a significant number of women. VicHealth (Australia) has noted that one of the underlying and contributing factors towards violence against women is their environment, citing ‘faith-based institutions’ such as churches as one such environment for many women. Indeed, international research shows that the language of religion is often used by women to explain abuse. Additionally, abused Christian women are more likely to remain in or return to unsafe relationships, citing religious beliefs to support avoidance of ‘family break-ups’ despite abuse. In contrast, however, churches can address domestic violence within a context of care, with emphasis on a theology of biblical equality. This paper examines how domestic violence may be supported by Christian language and belief, and suggests an ‘alternate theology’ concerning religious language in concepts of gender roles, sacrifice, submission, and suffering. It reviews current research on the connection between Christian religious language and domestic violence against women, to highlight the Christian church’s role as a contributing factor to such abuse. Finally, the paper makes some suggestions on how religious language can, in contrast to perpetuating abuse through norms, sever the connections between domestic violence and religious language. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Infrapolitics of Defiance: Forms of Agency Exhibited by Homeless Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030070
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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Abstract
This article offers a provocative look at practices of false compliance that homeless gender-based violence survivors employ to withstand the personal and structural violence they experience. The article explores how the three instrumentations of disorder, evasion, and subterfuge are used by survivors as
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This article offers a provocative look at practices of false compliance that homeless gender-based violence survivors employ to withstand the personal and structural violence they experience. The article explores how the three instrumentations of disorder, evasion, and subterfuge are used by survivors as forms of veiled resistance, as well as locations that exhibit their agency. Featuring stories from a series of in-depth interviews, the article uses critical theory to examine the specific mechanisms survivors’ use to defy violent power relations. The research employs a grounded theory methodology, using narrative analysis grids to code for dialogic and performative themes that consistently emerge in survivor narratives. Research findings suggest that survivors’ needs may be best met through innovative community-based programming that deinstitutionalizes entry and exit points into support systems. This decenters the role and function of the external professional helper by utilizing trained local community members as key partners in the disruption of violence cycles. This less traditional approach should be accompanied by housing reform policies that effect longer-term structural change by embedding shelter and safety needs in community networks. In the absence of such durable supports, survivors will continue to enact strategies of sabotage and logics of subversion until helping systems are transformed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Survivors’ Sociocultural Status in Mwenga: A Comparison of the Issue before and after Rape
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6020064
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
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Abstract
This article discusses psychosocial challenges faced by women survivors of rape in their families and communities based on the interpretation of rape as a sexual taboo and held beliefs that automatic transgression of taboo, through unwanted sexual contact, defiles and endangers survivors and
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This article discusses psychosocial challenges faced by women survivors of rape in their families and communities based on the interpretation of rape as a sexual taboo and held beliefs that automatic transgression of taboo, through unwanted sexual contact, defiles and endangers survivors and those who associate with them. This article raises awareness on these challenges and provides contextualized useful knowledge for professionals in helping the relationship with survivors and for gender relations policy makers. Built on results from a doctoral qualitative, grounded theory-based research, the article presents survivors’ stories from women who suffered rape and therapists who provided multidisciplinary services to them. Researchers have found that rape is widely believed to be a sexual taboo in Mwenga and other rural areas from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The results suggest that efforts to support healing and social integration of survivors can be well supported by taking into consideration the contextual belief system around sexual defilement as this plays a significant role in post rape relations for survivors in their families and communities. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Process Review of the Indashyikirwa Couples Curriculum to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence and Support Healthy, Equitable Relationships in Rwanda
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6020063
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
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Abstract
Indashyikirwa is a Rwandan intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention program being implemented by CARE International Rwanda, Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC). A central aspect of the programme is a 20-session curriculum for heterosexual couples designed to support healthy,
[...] Read more.
Indashyikirwa is a Rwandan intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention program being implemented by CARE International Rwanda, Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), and Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC). A central aspect of the programme is a 20-session curriculum for heterosexual couples designed to support healthy, non-violent relationships. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with 15 couples (before and after the curriculum) and 9 field staff to assess couples’ impressions, comprehension of, and engagement with this innovative training. Thematic analysis was conducted to compare key findings from both data sources. Couples and staff offered positive assessments of the curriculum including the contextual relevance, the participatory approach, and a high level of dedication to the training was shown by the majority of couples. Many couples appreciated being trained together, and although some men dominated the first few sessions, participation gradually became more gender-balanced, and facilitators emphasized creating a safe environment for equal participation. Curriculum content that was initially resisted or difficult reportedly became easier through couples learning and trying new skills and experiencing relationship benefits first-hand, which emphasizes the value of the skills building component and take home exercises. Important insights for couples-based, educational approaches to IPV prevention are identified from this process review. Full article

Other

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Open AccessConference Report Foundational Gender Theory for a Dangerous World: Intersectional Gender Seminar in the Fight against Rape Culture
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030102
Received: 21 May 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 24 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper focuses on a team-taught gender studies colloquium in the spring term of 2016 at Phillips Academy at Andover. Having heard the loud and clear message coming down from college campuses and being familiar with their harrowing statistics of gender-based violence and
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This paper focuses on a team-taught gender studies colloquium in the spring term of 2016 at Phillips Academy at Andover. Having heard the loud and clear message coming down from college campuses and being familiar with their harrowing statistics of gender-based violence and sexual assault, we knew that we must educate high-school students about gender theory, gender-based violence, and sexual-assault prevention as early as possible. The course introduced students to foundational texts in intersectional gender theory and key concepts as they are understood and used in critical interdisciplinary studies of gender. We explored how these concepts are taken up from different perspectives to address specific social problems, particularly rape culture—actions, events, and attitudes that normalize, trivialize, and highlight an overarching pattern of sexual assault, more often than not directed at women—and the implications of these critical approaches for thinking about and acting in the world. Full article
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