We’ve come to an end of our annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Blogathon, running between the International Day to End Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day today. Our blogathon this year focused on the theme of migration, mobilities, and displacement and is a continued collaboration between GENDER.ED at the University of Edinburgh, the Gendered Violence Research Network at the University of New South Wales and the Centre for Publishing at Dr B R Ambedkar University Delhi. We invited artists, academics, and activists to reflect on gender-based violence in the context of our theme and their blogs shared work from Australia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Kenya, Tunisia, Nepal, Somalia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Syria.
This collaboration between the institutions and with the many bloggers who joined our online space reminded us of the urgent and powerful need for co-creation as an analytical and methodological approach as Nick Mai’s creative ethnofiction showed us.
Inviting a range of academics and activists to our pages these past sixteen days, we learned how the basic categories through which we name and approach gender-based violence can’t be taken for granted. Sometimes the very subjects of gender-based violence are missing. Elsewhere, the erasure is an epistemic one: where queer and trans refugee women are not seen as legitimate victims of displacement.
Our bloggers also challenged the unit through which we understand gender-based violence during times of migration, mobility, and displacement: is it the individual person or is this an issue requiring analysis at the community, kin, and group level as this blog from the DiSoCo project showed by focusing on questions of justice and care.
Through the past 16 days, we heard powerful analyses of rape, forced marriage, and displacement and uprooting. But we also encountered GBV at unlikely sites: through the politics of leisure in a Delhi resettlement colony perhaps, and a nuanced narrative of agriculture and kinship from Syria.
Traveling across sites and contexts of labour, war and violence, we encountered migration that helped people access much-needed care as with West African migrants in Australia and Ugandan refugees fleeing transphobia and homophobia to arrive in Kenya. Migration is “both a cry for help and at the same time the indomitable human urge to survive” as this blog on trans* masculine journeys shows us and practices of care are stitched together despite institutional violence as the asylum accommodation system in the UK shows. If borders are tools of violence, so too are immigrants often perceived as threatening. People seek mobility and liberation through border crossings but some journeys are persistently fraught with violence as racialised and gendered inequalities are reinforced.
How does one address this violence? Feminist jurisprudence offers the transformatory potential of difference in reimagining justice. Through our posts, we have expanded how we come to listen to gender-based violence and trauma through testimonials of gender-based violence through art, literature, and song that also have the powerful potential to heal through creative force.
At the end of the blogathon, we are left with the complexity of the racialized and gendered violence of migration, mobilities, and displacement but also we hope we can leave you with the possibility of healing and repair possible through collaborative creative exploration and feminist solidarity.
The 2022 curators:
University of Edinburgh: Dr Radhika Govinda (Director), Dr Hemangini Gupta (Assoc Director and 2022 Blogathon Co-Lead), Dr Zubin Mistry (Steering Group Member and 2022 Blogathon Co-Lead) and Aerin Lai (PhD web and editorial assistant) from GENDER.ED.
Dr B R Ambedkar University Delhi: Prof. Rukmini Sen (Director, Centre for Publishing), Dr Rachna Mehra (School of Global Affairs).
University of New South Wales: Prof. Jan Breckenridge (Co-Convenor), Mailin Suchting (Manager) and Georgia Lyons (Research Assistant) for the Gendered Violence Research Network.