This workshop presentation proposes an integrative lens on domestic violence, critiquing stereotypes that portray victims/survivors of partner abuse as largely lower- and middle- class, heterosexual white women. It analyzes the structural and discriminatory barriers facing marginalized women in accessing domestic violence services, including treatment center locations, language disparities, and white, heteronormative dominance of characterizing victim circumstances. In order to eradicate this one-dimensional, classic understanding, a culturally-relative, rather than universal, approach is needed in treatment services and research studies. From this presentation, participants will understand that dominant groups in society problematically play too large of a role in addressing and trying to eliminate partner violence. This causes marginalized groups to be left out of these conversations while convincing the public that domestic violence is a universalistic issue (that it is the same everywhere), and therefore should be treated the same amongst all groups. Participants will also take away that this exclusion must be eradicated through framing domestic violence as a more culturally relative issue, and that barriers must be removed from marginalized groups facing violence so they are better able to access help. For this workshop, I will use an extemporaneous delivery method to convey my information.
GOAL/OUTCOME #1 Participants will be able to understand the exclusivity of the mainstream movements against domestic violence, and thus attempt to better include the voices and faces of marginalized identities in their understanding of this type of violence.
GOAL/OUTCOME #2 Participants will comprehend the difference between universalism and cultural relativism in addressing social issues, so as to be sure they are making an effort to include all groups when developing solutions to particular problems.
GOAL/OUTCOME #3 Participants will be better able to identify social movements which are largely based on dominant groups, so as to see that these movements are in need of further development to better include all groups the problem may affect.
Melissa Szurgyi, Double Major in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, The College at Brockport Melissa Szurgyi is a senior Honors College student pursuing degrees in sociology and women and gender studies. She has attended the College since 2014, and has received awards through each of her departments such as the Sociology Departmental Scholarship, Elaine K. Miller Scholarship, and the Woolf Erin Backer-Obourn Scholarship. She has worked towards promoting social equality, diversity, and intersectionality through her work as a Take Back the Night committee member, Tunnel of Oppression volunteer coordinator, and as a community ambassador. She will also present this particular work at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in Baltimore, MD, in November 2017.