“Her Body Her Own Worst Enemy”: The Medicalization of Violence Against Women

  • Abby L. WilkersonEmail author
Part of the Library of Public Policy and Public Administration book series (LPPP, volume 12)


From the 1960s, when women began working together to end gender-based violence, to well into the twenty-first century, attitudes and practices have shifted in important ways, yet this social justice project is far from complete. While feminist resistance has gone public in unprecedented ways, institutional responses often lag far behind. This chapter focuses on medical contexts, arguing that gendered violence, a neglected topic in bioethics, constitutes an important issue for the field, one urgently in need of intersectional feminist bioethical analysis. Moreover, the chapter argues that this analysis requires intersectionality, such as including transgendered women and genderqueer people in the focus, while addressing race, class, disability, and other vectors of oppression. Complex inegalitarian dynamics persist as pervasive factors in healthcare, compounding the harms of violence itself when treatment is sought. Mainstream medicine often treats the symptoms of violence while ignoring or obscuring the causes. However, a feminist analysis provides guidance based on the tenets and practices of movements against gendered violence. Medical providers have a distinctive opportunity to intervene in the crisis of gendered violence, and movement-based principles point the way to equitable and effective medical responses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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