Domestic Violence and the Twentieth Century Greek Family in Greece, the United States, and Australia

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Vicky DEMOS, University of Minnesota, Morris, USA
Gender inequality is most critically evidenced in violence against women. It is estimated that one in four women in Greece has or will be the victim of violence sometime in her life. Domestic violence has been shown to have increased there since the onset of austerity. In addition, it has been argued that it occurs among the poor and the uneducated.

Greeks are known for their strong family system, a system that has provided personal safety and security throughout Greeceā€™s tumultuous history. At the same time, the sacredness of this institution has until recent deccades meant that family violence has existed in secret and with impunity.

Based on my research of Greeks in Greece and the diaspora of Australia and and the United States during the twentieth century I will identify ways in which domestic violence was largely unrecognized as a social issue. In addition, using sources such as the United Nations CEDAW report on Greece, WIN HELLAS, an NGO founded in Greece in 2006 to empower women and fight domestic violence, the Daughters of Penelope, an organization established to maintain and continue the Greek culture and now engaged in domestic violence projects, and family studies, I will explain how 21st century institutions outside of and within Greece have provided support for the elimination of domestic violence during its heightened visibility currently as austerity has been implemented.

Overt violence will be covered as well as symbolic violence manifested by the idea of the traditional or patriarchal family. While discussion of actual statistics will be limited to Greece, discussion of violence in the Greek family in Australia and the United States will be based on qualitative research. The sociological recognition/non-recognition of the issue will be compared to the psychological and anthropological.