Home Institution

University of Virginia

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


Violence against women is a worldwide problem that affects about 1 in every 3 women in Chile (Ministerios del Interior y Seguridad Pública, 2013). In this study, I research the responses to this issue in Chile by asking the following questions: What strategies do some feminist organizations of the civil society in Valparaíso, Chile use in order to combat violence against women: Do you strategies include men? Why or why not? I hope to accomplish three objectives: outline the deep-rooted causes of violence against women and ways to combat these causes, define the forms in which some feminist organizations try to end the violence, and describe and analyze the opinions that these organizations have regarding the role of men in the fight against the violence. The theme of this project is important to study, because violence against women is a widespread, is not adequately addressed on an institutional level in Chile, and researching this issue reveals insights that can be used to prevent the violence.

I have chosen to use a gender perspective in this study because it recognizes gender-based oppression and aims to end it. This perspective makes a distinction between sex and gender in order to assert that gender is socially constructed. Furthermore, the female gender is constructed as inferior to the male gender because society is patriarchal. This gender hierarchy is a core cause of violence against women, because men use violence to reinforce the power that the hierarchy grants them. Feminism is a way to end this violence, because it aims to uproot the patriarchy.

In order to collect my data, I interviewed women leaders of three feminist organizations in Valparaíso, Chile that combat violence against women and also participated in a demonstration to denounce femicidio. I found that all three organizations aim to make the violence visible in order to eradicate it, and they use educational and activist prevention strategies to do so. I also found that none of the organizations deliberately include men. Furthermore, though all of the leaders I interviewed believe that men should participate in the fight against violence, they maintain that men should do so outside of their feminist organizations. Thus, although it may be difficult, we should determine ways to encourage men to participate in and create their own organizations while also, of course, working to address the complex problem of violence against women in a varied and multicausal way.


Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Women's Studies


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