The Sexual Politics of Domestic Violence
Shu-Man Pan(Department of Adult & Continuing Education, National Taiwan Normal University)
Body politics has become a core concept of feminist discourse. Since the 1970s, feminists has challenged the capitalist society and centered their focus women’s body experiences such as rape, domestic violence, reproductive technology and motherhood. Feminists argue that women’s body experiences in contemporary society reflect the face of sexual power inequalities. Therefore, the enactment of body policies has been regarded as the primary goal of women’s liberation movement. Recently many feminist policy analysts doubt that whether or not body policies can achieve the goal of sexual power equality, and social institutions can protect women against domestic violence?
The purpose of this study, based on feminist perspective on sexual power equality, is to investigate how the problem of domestic violence in Taiwan defined by the public and social work professionals. What kind of gender ideology is represented in body policies and transferred to societal institutions that help maintain the structure of male domination. The results of this study show that three major sources contributing to the interpretation of the phenomenon of domestic violence are the public, women liberation advocates, and politicians. There are significant differences on the concept of domestic violence among the public, politicians, and women liberation advocates. The results also show a significant difference on the concept of domestic violence identified by social workers. The majority of social workers in this study define the phenomenon of domestic violence in terms of sex power inequality, while few social workers consider the problem of domestic violence as a result of individual characteristics and bad communication skills. In the past decade, there is no thoughtful explanation of the problem of domestic violence in Taiwan. Reports from newspaper represent a common phenomenon prevailing in the public. Visions from women liberation advocates and social workers on the phenomenon of domestic violence demonstrate significant differences from others. These fresh ideas give us hope of achieving sexual power equality in the future.
domestic violence, body politics, feminism, qualitative research, social work, media