Debats UB analyses violence against women from a historical, legal and literary perspective

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On the October 27 session of the cycle Debats UB: Feminisme(s), several current and polemic topics were treated, such as the way in which the legal system should face the gender violence crimes. It also went over history to comment on cases of rapes and abuses in ancient Greece and analysed female characters in crime novels, both as victims and as investigators or criminals. Participants in the debate, titled “Violence against women’, introduced by the vice-rector for Equal Opportunities and Social Action, were Dolors Molas, lecturer at the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB, Paz Francés, criminal attorney and criminologist at the Public University of Navarre, and Elena Losada, lecturer at the Faculty of Philology and Communication of the UB. The journalist Mayka Navarro was the chairperson.

Dolors Molas started her turn with verses from the Iliad about a rape committed by Zeus. The lecturer outlined violence against women in Greek tragedies and remembered that during the Trojan war, sexual violence against women was used as a revenge and humiliation against the enemy. Even the mythological founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, are born out of a rape committed by the God Mars.

Molas defined feminism as a movement which transforms social relationships and defended we need a male revolution. “Different masculinities’, she said. In these lines, she defended care work, which provide values such as empathy and patience, and said that placing these works at the center “is the best way to end with violence’.

Paz Francés warned her speech would be “a suggestive and provocative pill’. She focused on a specific aspect: the possibilities of restorative justice in gender violence. “That is, the chances of solving it through dialogue’, she said. She noted there are several feminisms. One would be the jailer feminism, “which relegated the protection of human rights to penal law’. She criticized that this perspective does not know the limits of penal law and defended other approaches, such as guarantor and abolitionist feminisms, which would advocate to leave from the punishment paradigm’.

The criminal attorney commented that this change when getting close to gender crimes would be “an improvement for the offender, the victim, and society’. And she defended a change in the Spanish legislation in these lines, for which feminisms should go, according to Francés.

Elena Losada started saying that crime novel is “an accurate reflection of reality and changes’. In this genre, she said we “have an investigator, a victim and a criminal’, and she gave examples of women playing these three roles. She presented the figures of three fiction investigators: Petra Delicado (created by the writer Alicia Giménez Barlett), Maria Ruiz (by the author Berna González) and Amaia Salazar (by Dolores Redondo). She talked about the relationship of these characters with guns and violence and their vulnerability, “a vulnerability a male hero would rarely have’. As an example of female victims she mentioned Las niñas perdidas, by Cristina Fallarás.

Losada finished talking about the figures of criminal women in which, according to the lecturer, “fiction is behind reality’. She said that among the criminal characters, there are “black widows, women who suffered abuse, women who kill to protect their sons, to get money... but there is a lack of public dimension of the crime’. According to Losada, there is “almost a total lack of criminal women who act for economic crimes or public projection’.

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