Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Gender-based Violence: An anthropological perspective
For quite some time now, Italian media has been filled with horrific crimes perpetrated against women by their husbands, partners and boyfriends. This has involved stalking, domestic and sexual violence causing serious injury, even death. Murders of this nature are often termed “feminicide,” a word that now appears commonplace. The phenomenon affects women of all ages and social status so much so that it seems endemic in our society. This has led many to reflect on and question this criminal trend and look for a deeper social and anthropological analysis of violence of this nature.

In her essay Who Cooked the Last Supper? A Woman’s History of the World, Rosalind Miles takes up again a thesis suggested by Marilyn French. It is supported by much evidence from the comparative history of civilizations and religions indicating that at its beginnings human society was probably matriarchal.

Women had access to power in all its forms, with independence and freedom over many aspects of their lives. Only later would this state of affairs be undermined by male envy, which would deprive women of their leadership roles and establish male dominance. Thus arose the aphorism “In the beginning was the Mother,” taken from Marilyn French who deliberately rewrote the well-known “In the beginning was the Word” from the Fourth Gospel Prologue, which in turn echoes the first verse of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” an implicit polemic against religious tradition. These authors see themselves as rewriting history, which they see as warped by male dominance and marked by gender violence, to which women have been subjected for too long.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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