Feminist Engagements with Violence: Contingent Moments from Sri Lanka

The four chapters in this book attempt to document and analyse contingent moments in the feminist movement in Sri Lanka as feminists have attempted to address issues of gendered violence. The introduction maps and brings together a framework through which issues of violence against women in Sri Lanka can be analysed. It looks not only at the emergence of identity politics as the dominant mode through which gender issues have been tackled, but also investigates two ways (freedom and protection) in which the movement has sought to redress gendered violence. The first chapter studies what enabled a feminist response to gendered violence in the mid-1980s, through an analysis of two feminist collectives at the time. The second chapter looks at feminist engagements with gendered violence in the 1990s. The author analyses two linked and prolonged engagements by the feminist movement, namely the internationalization of the violence against women movements and the Sri Lankan campaign over the rape and murder of Krishanthy Koomaraswamy. Chapter three discusses the emergence of the law as the site of feminist engagements with violence in the mid-1990s. The author draws attention to this overwhelming reliance on the law and critiques the unqualified use of law as a site of both protection from violence and freedom from violence. The final chapter extends the critique of the previous chapter by looking at alternative (to the law) feminist attempts can enable.

Hussein, Ameena, Lisa Kois and Rizvina Morseth de Alwis
Publisher and location: 
ICES: Colombo, Sri Lanka