Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana

Citation:

Trotz, D. Alissa. 2004. “Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana.” Small Axe 8 (1): 1–20.

Author: D. Alissa Trotz

Abstract:

The immediate aftermath of the 1997 and 2001 elections in Guyana was marked by violence, most of which targeted members of the Indo-Guyanese community. While far more men than women were directly assaulted in the recent waves of political violence, this essay specifically addresses the violence that women experience as members of racially marked communities and asks three questions: How is gender implicated in racialized electoral violence and community responses to such assaults? How can we account for women's different responses to violence? How might we begin to realistically construct a viable opposition against all forms of violence against women? I begin by outlining some gendered aftereffects of the 1997 and 2001 elections. As a way of making sense of these events, I raise some questions about colonial inheritances and contemporary inequalities in an effort to suggest linkages between pasts and presents, private and public domains. I then explore how women come to symbolize racialized difference, and the investments women themselves may have in such self-other notions, as racialized subjects who are gendered female. The final section draws on the work of Red Thread, a women's organization in Guyana, in an effort to stimulate discussion of antiracist and antiviolence work that centrally acknowledges differences among women. The example is used here not as a final word on the subject but rather as a provisional gesture toward inclusion and conversation.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, NGOs, Race, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Guyana

Year: 2004

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