Enduring Violence

Gender & Society

by Cecilia Menjívar

Enduring Violence is the culmination of several years of research I conducted in Guatemala, where I had the opportunity to interview and converse informally with Maya and non-Maya (ladina) women in two semi-rural towns and to talk with a variety of people who are in one way or another connected to the women, such as medical professionals, priests and pastors, government officials, etc. In the course of our conversations and interviews, the women related experiences that signaled suffering arising from deep inequalities in their lives. I listened carefully and noticed that even when they did not mention instances of physical violence, the women brought up other forms of suffering brought about by extreme control over their bodies and movements, gossip, humiliations, threats, vulnerability and fear, experiences I came to categorize as the women’s “private terrors.”

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