The Body and State Violence, from the Harrowing to the Mundane: Chilean Women's Oral Histories of the Augusto Pinochet Dictatorship (1973–1990)

Citation:

Townsend, Brandi. 2019. "The Body and State Violence, from the Harrowing to the Mundane: Chilean Women's Oral Histories of the Augusto Pinochet Dictatorship (19731990)." Journal of Women's History 31 (2): 33-56.

Author: Brandi Townsend

Abstract:

This article analyzes group interviews with three women from Valparaíso, Chile, who were imprisoned together under Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship (1973–1990). Sylvia, Alicia, and Oriana's oral histories reveal that they frequently spoke about their bodies to convey their experiences of state violence. Sylvia and Alicia constructed narratives of rebellion against the regime and challenged long-standing notions of men's domination over women's bodies. Oriana's account, however, uncovers the complexity of learning to live with the enduring effects of sexual torture, while at the same time defying conventional ideas about sex and motherhood. The article also emphasizes how these women spoke about structural and subtler forms of violence, including denying basic hygienic conditions, constraining freedom of movement, and restricting the right to control birth. It demonstrates how these oral histories were mediated by historical discourses of gender, maternity, sexuality, class, and race.

Topics: Class, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Health, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights, Torture, Sexual Torture, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 2019

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