Journal of Human Rights and Social Work

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 216–228 | Cite as

Domestic Violence, Human Rights, and Postcolonial Intersectionality of Afro-descendent and Indigenous Women in Cuba and Guatemala

  • Dorlisa J. MinnickEmail author
  • Patricia O’Brien


Violence against women, including domestic violence or intimate partner violence, is a violation of human rights. As such, ending violence against women is embedded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of achieving gender equality and empowerment. This article gives voice to the intersection of race/ethnicity, class, geography, and gender in describing systemic and institutional power used to subjugate and isolate women experiencing domestic violence via examples from an Afro-Cuban woman and two Guatemalan indigenous women’s experiences with domestic violence. The United Nations has adopted resolutions that offer direction to social work in eliminating domestic violence. Social workers in the Global North must understand neoliberal policy and its impact on globalization processes in the Global South as they work to demand an end to intimate partner violence. Advocacy on behalf of domestic violence survivors then should be based on a human rights framework with postcolonial intersectional feminist theory to contextualize the experiences of women of color in Cuba and Guatemala.


Domestic violence against women Postcolonial intersectionality Afro-descendent Indigenous Cuba Guatemala 



The authors thank the reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work and GerontologyShippensburg UniversityShippensburgUSA
  2. 2.Jane Addams College of Social WorkUniversity of IL at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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