Gloria González-López, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, has published a piece in which she asks what the #MeToo movement can do for survivors of sexual violence in intimate spaces, such as the family. In the piece, she draws on research from her recent book Family Secrets: Stories of Incest and Sexual Violence in Mexico (2015, NYU Press) to articulate a vision for dismantling gender inequality and sexual violence within the family.
What does it mean that uncles are the most frequent perpetrators of sexual abuse? Hollywood moguls aren’t the only ones who feel entitled to girls’ and women’s bodies—men in familial settings sadly often do as well.
One of the most important feminist revolutions has to take place at home. How could the #MeToo movement prompt a reckoning in our most secretive, intimate sector?
Sexual violence against girls and women in the context of family life is deeply rooted in gender inequality. The women who shared their lives with me were socially trained to serve the men in their families—in the most extreme case, an eight-year-old girl was cleaning, sweeping and mopping the room of an uncle in his forties. In these family patterns of gendered servitude, men who are expected to be served by the girls and women in the family may feel entitled to be sexually served by them as well.
Read more at Ms. Magazine.