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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 Seven: Narrative Representations of Gendered Violence and Women’s Resistance in Francoist Spain: Dulce Chacón’s La voz dormida (2002) and Almudena Grandes’s Inés y la alegría (2010) (Sarah Leggott)


chapter seven

Narrative Representations of Gendered Violence and Women’s Resistance in Francoist Spain

Dulce Chacón’s La voz dormida (2002) and Almudena Grandes’s Inés y la alegría (2010)

Sarah Leggott

The gendered violence inflicted on Republican women is an element of the history of the Spanish Civil War and ensuing Franco dictatorship that continues to be little studied, despite the fact that rape and other forms of sexual humiliation were used systematically as forms of punishment against left-wing women. The incidence of rape and other acts of sexualized violence during this period have long been considered taboo and continue to constitute a neglected historical reality. While among the many recent studies of this period are a number that have shed light on women’s participation at the frontlines during the war, their work in the clandestine resistance movement in the post-war years, and their numerous contributions to activities in the rearguard/civilian zone (Lines 2012; Linhard 2005; Nash 1999; Romeu Alfaro 1994; Roura 1998), little attention has been paid to the explicitly gendered nature of the repression suffered by Republican women as part of the broader politics of repression of Franco’s regime. Thereby, although the political violence of the period has been analysed in recent historical studies (Casanova coord. 2002; Juliá, coord. 1999; Reig Tapia 2000; Rodrigo 2008), some of which address the topic of the treatment of women in Francoist prisons (Hernández Holgado 2003; Vinyes 2002), few specifically consider the...

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