Racialising domestic violence: Islamophobia and the Australian forced marriage debate

Patton, C 2018, 'Racialising domestic violence: Islamophobia and the Australian forced marriage debate', Race and Class, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 21-39.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Racialising domestic violence: Islamophobia and the Australian forced marriage debate
Author(s) Patton, C
Year 2018
Journal name Race and Class
Volume number 60
Issue number 2
Start page 21
End page 39
Total pages 19
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd.
Abstract Amid claims that forced marriage is rife in Australia's minority communities, 2013 saw the introduction of criminal legislation outlawing forced marriage in Australia. Within public debate, this punitive measure came to overshadow all other modes of addressing the problem; for instance, education programmes, civil legislation and targeted domestic violence support services. This article examines print media coverage of forced marriage over the thirteen-year period leading up to the introduction of criminal legislation. Exploring a discourse that overwhelmingly understands forced marriage as a problem of Islam and multiculturalism, and that marginalises the experiences of women and service providers, the author identifies distinct conservative and liberal representations of forced marriage which racialise domestic violence. Conservatives maintain that forced marriage is empirical evidence of an impending Muslim 'takeover' of the West precipitated by multiculturalism. Liberals reassert the importance of western values through specific criminal legislation to temper male minority ethnic violence. The material consequence of these Orientalist framings is a narrowing of services available to women seeking to escape violence. The article seeks to understand the processes of meaning-making in which forced marriage is implicated and how the issue is situated within the domain of national political ideology, as opposed to family violence.
Subject Race and Ethnic Relations
Media Studies
Keyword(s) Australia
domestic violence
forced marriage
media analysis
DOI - identifier 10.1177/0306396818792182
Copyright notice Copyright © 2018 Institute of Race Relations
ISSN 0306-3968
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