Publishing with a purpose

Call for special issue papers

Call for Special Issue papers 2020:

Geographies of Violence Against Women

Co-editors: Dr Hannah Bows (Durham University) and Dr Bianca Fileborn (University of Melbourne)

Rationale: Over the last four decades there has been a rapid increase in available evidence about the prevalence, causes, impacts and responses to violence against women (VAW). Space is an important, yet overlooked, element of violence against women. Violence against women can occur in private and public spaces. Although national victimization surveys (e.g. the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey), as well as police statistics, generally report victim’s homes to be one of the most common sites for violence, research has consistently shown high levels in other spaces, ranging from everyday unwanted sexual attention and harassment to rape on public streets (Vera-Gray, 2016; YouGov, 2016) public transport (Gekoski et al, 2015), licensed venues (Fileborn, 2016), and university campuses and colleges (Bows, Burrell and Westmarland, 2015). Thus, as Pain (1991) pointed out, whilst research may indicate the majority of violence takes place in the private sphere (usually the victim’s home) this does not mean the public sphere is a safe place for women. In particular, sexual harassment (the most common form of sexual violence) overwhelmingly occurs in public places. High rates of sexual and physical violence against women are observed in conflict, with rape used as a ‘weapon of war’ in many conflict areas (United Nations, 2017). Similarly, high levels of physical and sexual violence occur in refugee camps, detention centres, prisons, care homes and other institutions (Clark & Fileborn, 2011).

Spaces, particularly public spaces, are masculine territories (Paul, 2011) and these gendered spaces have been linked to fear of crime, particularly for women in the context of interpersonal violence (Vera-Gray, 2018). It is likewise now well documented that women (and other marginalized groups) restrict and adjust their behavior and movement through public spaces in order to manage this fear of crime, and more specifically a fear of encountering sexual violence in public spaces (Pain, 1991; Stanko, 1990; Vera-Gray, 2018).

While the bulk of research within this field has examined sexual violence that occurs within ‘public’ or ‘private’ spheres (with a substantive focus on the latter), earlier feminist scholarship has thoroughly challenged and destabilized this binary spatial construction (Boyd, 1996, 1997; Duncan, 1996). The notion of violence occurring in public or private spaces is further destabilized by recent scholarship on technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV – Powell & Henry, 2017), and violence occurring in what could be considered ‘quasi’ public/private spaces, such as licensed venues (Fileborn, 2016).

However, despite the early work of feminist geographers drawing attention to the role that space and place play in contributing to the incidence of, and responses to, violence against women, such analyses have not occupied a prominent position in contemporary research. Likewise, the extent to which space may be productive in the occurrence of sexual violence remains largely under-examined in contemporary research (Fileborn, 2016). This special issue aims to address these gaps through an inter- and multi-disciplinary international collection of papers which foregrounds space and place in the analysis of violence against women.

Aim(s): to provide a multi-disciplinary examination the current state of research, policy and practice in relation to geographies, space and gender-based violence and to consider the implications and potential further developments in relation to these areas.*Topic areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • The types of VAW experienced in different spaces and how particular sites and spaces facilitate or prevent VAW
  • Technology-facilitated/online VAW
  • Conceptualising and destabilising the boundaries between public/private/online violence
  • Mapping the geographies of VAW, fear and safety
  • The impacts of VAW and relationships to space
  • VAW in institutional settings (e.g. prisons, care homes, hospitals, detention centres)
  • VAW in transient spaces
  • Constructions of VAW across space and place
  • Relationship(s) between space, place, identity, affect/emotion, and violence
  • How women negotiate space and engage in ‘safety work’ to prevent VAW
  • Segregated spaces and VAW

We welcome submissions that contribute to theoretical, conceptual and empirical knowledge on the geographies and spatial elements of violence against women. We particularly welcome perspectives on these topics from the global south. Furthermore, submissions examining the experiences of women of colour, transgender, gender-diverse and sexuality diverse women are strongly encouraged.

Guidelines to abstract submission
Abstract proposals not exceeding 500 words in length should be sent to Dr Hannah Bows,  Durham Law School, Durham University no later than 30th April 2019. Please include your name and email contact details. Feedback and a decision will be provided by 15th June 2019.

Prospective authors must be able to meet the following deadlines if their abstract is accepted for publication:
  1. Full draft of papers by 31st October 2019
  2. Following peer-review, draft papers will be returned with a decision by 1st February 2020
  3. Final versions of manuscripts to be received no later than 1st May 2020.
  4. Publication of this Special Issue will be October 2020.