Reconciliation as a Woman-Centered Approach to Intimate Partner Violence

Kelsi Toews


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious and prevalent issue throughout the world (Devries et al. 2013, 1527). IPV takes place within an intersectional context that includes race, gender, culture, power, and sexuality. The types of actions taken to combat this violence vary greatly between different cultural contexts. The United States and Canada frequently take a law-based approach toward dealing with perpetrators and attempt to assist the victims through various social service sectors. Countries of reconciliation, such as Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, and Kazakhstan, where individuals wish to keep the issue in the private sphere, often employ an approach aimed at maintaining the family system. Acts of reconciliation as a response to IPV have been deemed as inappropriate and oppressive reactions to the violence perpetuated against the victims (Coker, 2002; London, 1997). However, this criticism neglects the cleawr intersection of IPV responses and cultural contexts, thereby neglecting the autonomy of the woman to choose the response she believes most aligns with her cultural values. Through its emphasis on family, hospitality, respect, as well as religious texts and parables, the Society of Muslim Women (SMW) in Kazakhstan provides an example of a culturally and gender-appropriate reconciliation process. With the example of Kazakhstan, this paper shows that the reconciliation approach can allow the autonomy and cultural values of the female victim to be appreciated. 


Intimate Partner Violence; Reconciliation; Gender; Violence; Cross-Culture

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