Violence Against Women & Girls 2022
Creating a World Without Violence Against Women & Girls: The Role of the Arts
Fri 25 - Sat 26 Nov 2022
We are pleased to announce that the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s will host an international conference in November on the role of creative activism in ending violence against women and girls. The two-day event, which will mark the UN’s International Day to End Violence Against Women & Girls (25 Nov), will take place in-person at Queen’s University Belfast, and online. It will bring together activists, creative practitioners, academics and survivors.
Confirmed keynote speakers include author, activist and Belfast rape survivor Winnie M Li (Dark Chapter 2017, and Complicit 2022), who co-founded the UK’s first-ever arts festival addressing sexual assault and consent, and Professor Robin E. Field, author of Writing the Survivor: The Rape Novel in Late Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Natasha Cuddington and Ruth Carr, editors of the ground breaking anthology, Her Other Language: Northern Irish Women Writers Address Domestic Violence and Abuse.
This is a hybrid event. Delegates can choose to attend online or in person. Registration is free.
Creative activism has played an important role in the struggle against violence against women and girls. Across the literary, visual and performing arts, artists and writers have helped to break the silence and defy the shame about violence against women and girls, honour survivor strength and resistance, shape understanding of gendered violence, and provide survivors with moments of recognition of their lives and experiences. Such work has challenged cultural mythologies that on the one hand minimise the impact of violence, and on the other portray it as something impossible to recover from. Creative activism has disputed the victim-blaming/perpetrator-excusing portrayals of previous generations of (largely white, male) artists and writers.
Recently there has been a resurgence of creative activism. #MeToo inspired survivors to give creative expression to their experiences and gave fresh impetus to feminist scholarship on the role of creative representations in either perpetuating or preventing violence against women and girls. Nevertheless, the potential of the arts to create a world without violence against women and girls remains under-explored and under-recognised.
Delegates to the conference will enjoy a wide range of contributions and perspectives from creative practitioners, researchers, and activists around the world on topics such as the female body in crime fiction, survival strategies in speculative fiction, Indigenous feminist futurisms, films and TV shows created by victim-survivors, horror as a tool for meaning making, subverting colonialism, and much more. There will be opportunities for questions, discussion and networking throughout the event.
United Nations Background
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
- intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
- sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
- human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
- female genital mutilation; and
- child marriage.
To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable - for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights.
Find out more about the United Nations' commitments and the campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls.