ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Women and Violence

Women Writing Violence: The Novel and Radical Feminist Imaginaries by Shreerekha Subramanian (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage), 2013; pp 312, Rs 750.

Traditionally, the female body has been a target for violence. Private and domestic violence, rape, molestation, murder, etc, all are common enough, as we know by our recent experiences. As Susan Brownmiller points out in her seminal work on rape, Against Our Will, rape is less an outburst of perverted lust than a collective male attempt to keep women in their place. Though women seldom play an active role in unleashing wars, they are the greatest victims of war. In ancient times when a city state or clan was conquered, all the adult men were killed and women and children sold into slavery. We find examples of this as far back as Homer and Euripides. Even today the custom continues despite the Geneva Conventions. On a small scale it is commonplace to take revenge on an enemy or a whole community by humiliating his/their womenfolk. The bloody tale of the Partition of India was written on female bodies. In short, violence against women is often the defining line of a community.

The author poses such questions:

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