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Gender and Violence in Spanish Culture

From Vulnerability to Accountability


Edited By María José Gámez Fuentes and Rebeca Maseda García

For the true exercise of citizenship to occur, gender violence must be eradicated, as it is not an interpersonal problem, but an attack on the very concept of democracy. Despite increasing social awareness and legal measures taken to fight gender violence, it is still prevalent worldwide. Even in a country such as Spain, praised in the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women (2010) for its advanced approach on gender violence, the legal framework has proved insufficient and deeper sociocultural changes are needed. This book presents, in this respect, groundbreaking investigations in the realm of politics, activism, and cultural production that offer both a complex picture of the agents involved in its transformation and a nuanced panorama of initiatives that subvert the normative framework of recognition of victims of gender violence. As a result, the book chapters articulate a construction of the victim as a subject that reflects and acts upon his/her experience and vulnerability, and also adopt perspectives that frame accountability within the representational tradition, the community, and the state.

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Chapter Three: Silenced Voices: Prostitutes, Lesbians, and “Bad Women” in Spanish Public Policies on Gender Violence (Emma Gómez Nicolau)


chapter three

Silenced Voices

Prostitutes, Lesbians, and “Bad Women” in Spanish Public Policies on Gender Violence

Emma Gómez Nicolau

Introduction: Notes about the Complexity of Gender Violence

Everything is violence: sexist advertisements, romantic love myths, Walt Disney’s films, micromachisms, reggeaton lyrics…. Gender violence has managed to be established as a social signifier, with an undeniable discursive presence. However, the statements are not always articulated on analyses that relate to the gender regime, the social and political contexts, and the social spaces in which violence emerges.

In the process of introducing gender violence as a relevant social and political problem in the Spanish context, the Act 1/2004 of Integral Protection Measures against Gender Violence was a shifting point in the Spanish public policies: it addressed, for the first time, the problem of violence in heterosexual couple relationships from a gender perspective, pointing directly to the structural roots of violence, and establishing a specific gender figure (Laurenzo 2015) in the legal system. Public policies developed from the Act 1/2004 meant not only an increase in the social sensitivity and account for a reality that was wrapped with a sense of inevitability fruit of the persistence of the patriarchal heritage, but also an implementation of a wide range of protection measures for those women that experience violence, and an increment in extension and deepness in the punishment for aggressors. However, it also prompted a step-forward revision of a theoretical approach,...

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