Understanding the relationship between structural violence and the lives of Black lesbians
- Author Dr Jacqueline Wilson
- Published August 27, 2022
- Word count 798
The concept of structural violence is entailed in peace and conflict studies. South Africa, features a rich history of slavery, apartheid, and colonization (Meer and Müller, 2017). Hence, the subsequent paper aims to understand the relationship between structural violence and the lives of black lesbians in townships and how it affects them. The inquiry will specialize in three main dimensions, the legal, the economic, and therefore the social (everyday life), for intersectionality theory. In 1969, Johan Galtung, a sociologist, introduced the concept of structural violence. Galtung identified class, race, and social structure because the primary structural violence inequalities had destructive consequences for women since they significantly limited their educational opportunities and were associated with poverty. Lewis (1998) defined poverty which was rephrased by Muller, as a "Culture of poverty", which describes a gaggle of people that elicit a culture that perceives itself as marginal. Hence, poverty defines marginalized populations and violence (Galtung, 1969).
South African legislation on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) sexual rights has been the foremost progressive. On the contrary, the state has been burdened by increased rape cases among black lesbians in townships. Noteworthy, there's occasional news on media platforms about homicide events involving black lesbians.
There are significant challenges in changing the mentality, cultural attitude, and stereotypes engraved within the social institutions despite the progressive nature of legislation on LGBTQI rights (Kgalemang and Setume, 2016). Township conditions like insufficient care, inadequate education, and adverse health conditions are some structural inequalities affecting black lesbians. Consistent with Crenshaw (1989, p. 1244), limited studies on black lesbians and the prevalence of private and public divisions interfered with the reversible effects emergent from structural violence. The researcher continued to explicate that the scholars focused primarily on sexuality, political violence, and public violence and not from an individual (private) perspective (a somewhat more prevalent situation in townships). The above exploration was identified to be based on sexuality and gender as the primary elements.
Cultural preferences are structural elements which will cause sexual violence among minority groups such as LGBTQI. Price and Mintz (2013) explained that the accepted norms are supported by the fact that the institution of marriage should be heterosexual. Consequently, Coffey (1999, p. 57) noted that minority groups experience gender-based and sexual violence that negatively impacts these populations exhibiting different sexual preferences. Many black lesbians who live in poverty face isolation and experience many challenges adapting to their societal needs (Kgalemang and Setume, 2016). Noteworthy, the populations that sleep in townships experience structural violence that has not been described in literature or media. Studies often show sexual assault among black lesbians aggravated by their gender and sexual identities, however, the class dimension often not explored. Therefore, there's a need to utilize the intersectionality framework to analyze structural and sexual violence that specializes in gender and its effects on LGBTQI women in townships.
Three categories of violence are direct, cultural, and structural, which are related. Galtung developed a triangle that deduced that structural and cultural violence could lead to explicit violence (1969). However, the sociologist's conclusions were flawed because scholars failed to focus on gendered aspects of the role of economic, social, and political forms in violence. Conclusively, Galtung established that interpersonal violence (gender-based) emanating from one individual had a more harmful impact than violence from an institutional structure.
Black economic empowerment (BEE) was structural violence created to promote business ownership among the black population. However, there was no notable development despite the formation of BEE, which eventually failed. The consequence of the BEE failure alleviated poverty because the wealth was directed to profit capitalism. The sexism, misogynism, and discrimination constitute other sorts of violence that black lesbians face in healthcare and legal systems. Clear et al. (2010) discussed policing as gendered discrimination as a sort of structural violence that can be illustrated by the criminal and social justice system framework, which they described as a "negative justice model". The authors discussed the above model by outlining its differences from the community justice framework.
Community justice theory focuses on promoting social controls and making a collective impact. Noteworthy, the concept is liable for various functions that include unemployment, alleviating poverty, and convictions. As Clear et al. (2010) explain, the framework of community justice improves collective community actions, the standard of public safety, and public life. Also, the framework is instrumental in restorative justice (Bazemore, 1998), community defence (Stone, 1996), community policing (Goldstein, 1990), community prosecutions (Boland, 1998), and community crime prevention (Bennett and Durie, 1999). Additionally, Clear and Karp (1998, p. 325) explained that restorative justice prioritized sanctions that required community reparations or restitution of the victims. Hence, the framework utilizes restorative justice to determine dilemmas and tensions within feminist critical scholarships. However, feminists fail to support restorative justice, creating a controversial and challenging agreement despite having the identical goal of eliminating sexual violence against sexual minorities and women (Bazemore, 1998; Kgalemang and Setume, 2016).
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