An Oasis in a Neo-Liberal Land: The Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence & Violations

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Guest blog by Walter S. DeKeseredy
Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, Director of the Research on Violence, and Professor of Sociology at West Virginia University
and Adjunct Professor in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology

February 10 to 12, 2015 will be days for progressive scholars, activists, practitioners, and policy makers to remember for years to come. Organized by the Gendered Violence Research Network and the University of New South Wales, The Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence & Violations took place on those dates and it was a firecracker of an event. Truly international and feminist in nature, the Conference was a dynamic response to the ongoing call to end one of the world’s most compelling social problems.

Many well-known an influential speakers were in attendance, including Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences. Also there were numerous path-breaking researchers, affiliates of Australia’s National Research Organization for Women’s Safety, and host of other people deeply committed to preventing rape, beatings, torture, stalking, and many other types of gendered violence.

In this current political era characterized by a rabid anti-feminist backlash, it was refreshing to repeatedly hear attendees call for gender-specific and broad definitions of violence. As well, critiques of abstracted empiricism, Conflict Tactics Scales data that attempt to show that violence is sexually symmetrical, and other anti-feminist phenomena were warmly received.

I left the conference with much hope and energy. The struggle to alleviate gender violence is very much alive and well due to the efforts of those who participated in the Conference and to the thousands of other feminist people around the world who work hard on a daily basis to alleviate much pain and suffering.

Special thanks must go to Co-Convenors Drs. Jan Breckenridge and Annie Cossins. They worked tirelessly to make the Conference a major success. Colleagues, please try to attend the next one. I promise that it will amaze you.

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