It’s All About Eve: Women’s Attitudes to Gender-Based Violence in Samoa
In this chapter, Penelope Schoeffel, Ramona Boodoosingh, and Galumalemana Steven Percival explore understandings of gender roles and gender violence within rural Samoan villages, applying approaches from development studies and filmmaking as their theoretical key. Using Percival’s 2015 documentary on gender violence in Samoa (Raise the Sennit Sail) as the starting point for their discussion, they consider the complicity of cultural and Christian traditions in perpetuating gender inequalities, gender violence, and rape-supportive social discourses. Samoa is a country whose cultural identity has become irrevocably intertwined with Western ideations of Christian piety, brought over to these islands during the colonial period. The legacy of the Christian mission thus remains powerful, with the result that, within today’s postcolonial milieu, male violence and predatory male sexuality continue to be excused or tolerated, while women and girls are blamed (and encouraged to blame themselves) for the sexual and physical victimization inflicted upon them with disturbing frequency. Schoeffel, Boodoosingh, and Percival discuss the implications of this, drawing on theories of performativity to consider the cultural functions of discourses that render gender violence an accepted part of Samoan culture. They contend that violence against women requires urgent attention in this region, and that the church must take on a more active role in tackling this crisis of social injustice.
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