IGWS Newsletter Vol. 40
- Report on the 5th Segment of the Lecture Series: “How to avoid harm by a loved one”
- “The reality of DV and current state of support available for victims”
- “How to distinguish love from sexual harassment”
- “The mental state of victims and their recovery: issues involved with assisting victims”
- Students’ feedback on the lectures
- Greeting from the new director of IGWS
- Reflections on gender through an NGO activity
- Reflections on gender based on my own experience
- Announcement of the 31st IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
Report on the 5th Segment of the Lecture Series: “How to avoid harm by a loved one”
1. “The reality of DV and current state of support available for victims”
(Speaker: Mr. Yasunori Kani, Lawyer)
On June 9, Mr. Kani, a lawyer who has worked for over 15 years to assist victims of domestic violence (DV), gave a lecture at Hoshigaoka campus. He spoke about the realities of DV, the current state of support available for victims, and his impressions about helping victims.
Mr. Kani first defined the meaning of DV and then presented the results from a survey conducted by the civil service. As DV is a reality for some married couples, he noted its adverse effect on their children’s development and some characteristics of violent offenders.
In reference to the current state of support available for victims, he introduced some spousal violence and counseling support centers. There are two centers in Aichi prefecture: Aichi Women’s Counseling Center and Nagoya City Support Center for Partner Violence. Lawyers who assist victims are most concerned about helping victims safely leave the relationship. He also discussed the various difficulties that he previously faced.
2. “How to distinguish love from sexual harassment”
(Speaker: Prof. Kazue Muta, Professor at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Human Sciences)
On June 17, Prof. Muta gave a lecture in Nagakute campus. In Japan, it is regarded as “commonsense” that all employers should take steps to prevent sexual harassment in their workplaces. Prof. Muta pointed out that a perception that sexual harassment is limited to making unwanted sexual advances is misguided common sense.
Some men may unknowingly harass women because they incorrectly believe the relationship is romantic. Even if the man was a relatively unknown middle-aged man, the woman could not refuse his physical advances because he is able to abuse his social position or power. The woman was not at fault for being the victim of such “romantic” sexual harassment. Therefore, we should remind ourselves to avoid the blame the victim mentality and try to approach the issue from the perspective of the woman who was unable to “just say no” to the man.
3. “The mental state of victims and their recovery: issues involved with assisting victims”
(Speaker: Ms. Naoko Takayama, Counselor, and Consultant for the Abuse of Human Rights and Harassment in Universities)
On July 1, Ms. Naoko Takayama gave a lecture at Hoshigaoka campus. In order to help victims of sexual violence or harassment, it is important to support them with a full understanding of their situations.
Victims of sexual harassment are likely to believe that their shortcomings are the reason why the harassment occurred. First, we should understand the victim’s state of mind. It is impossible for them to forget the experience, but it is possible to end one “stage” and move on to the next one. It is also important to understand that the recovery process is not always smooth but can involve setbacks. When people form the wrong impressions of victims, this can cause them to feel isolated or hurt them. In other words, the assistance of victims is a process that involves restoring their self-confidence and decision making ability so they are able to trust others.
Reflections on gender based on my own experience
Prof. Yoshie Shiraishi of the Department of Social Services at ASU contributed an article that looks back on her own life.
While working as a part-time university lecturer, I was fortunate to become acquainted with people who are involved in volunteer work to increase support for working parents in the local community. I conducted my survey-based research while participating in their volunteer activities.
During the time I accepted a full-time university position, I was involved in the establishment of a child abuse prevention association. We started a child abuse hotline. When we received a report of abuse, we contacted a legal team and the child abuse center. A majority of the telephone calls we received were from women who had trouble with childrearing or other family-related issues. One distressed caller exclaimed, “I might even abuse my own child.” Working as a hotline counselor, I supported the care of abuse survivors at nursery schools and the formation of a child abuse prevention system in the local community.
Despite the progress Japan has made in the establishment of a child abuse prevention system, countless infants continue to lose their lives to abusive parents. Unfortunately, mothers who are having difficulties related to childrearing may be unaware of the support services available or unable to use these services. Therefore, I would like to provide these people with support in any way that I can.
Greetings from the new director of IGWS
(Kayoko Watanabe, Professor at Aichi Shukutoku University, Faculty of Education)
I am honored to be appointed to the position of director of IGWS in 2015. Since my research field is not in gender or women’s studies, I am honestly not sure that I am the right person for the position. Nevertheless, I am convinced of the importance of studying different lifestyles and social structures from the perspective of women’s, men’s, and gender studies.
I hope to make IGWS a small but powerful driving force that contributes to the abolishment of “structural violence,” which causes such social problems as poverty or discrimination and prevents individuals from reaching their full potential. Our university has adopted the educational philosophy of “living together with diversity.” Therefore, my other goal is to build “positive peace” (Galtung) by approaching both education and research from the perspective of gender.
To read the Japanese original newsletter, click here and download a PDF file.