Obstetric Violence: Realities, and Resistance from Around the World (Paperback)
In this book, we make space to interrogate obstetric violence; from its historical and legal roots and contemporary realities, to responses of advocacy and resistance. Through the lens of obstetric violence, we are able to see overlap in structural vulnerability across continents as well as recognize the ways in which obstetric violence is symptomatic of larger global problems including systemic injustices related to reproductive health. Combining the perspectives of care providers, birthing people, advocates, and researchers, our volume seeks to include both a systematic and structural understanding of obstetric violence. We bring together diverse voices, from practitioners, to activists, to academics, and provide a global perspective on obstetric violence with research from around the world, including indigenous communities from North America (Canada and Hawaii), examples from Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as country-specific cases from Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, Portugal, and the United States. The range of disciplinary perspectives and global experiences presented in this book demonstrates that obstetric violence is neither bound to one discipline, nor site specific. Together the chapters of this volume work to understand obstetric violence, moving beyond static definitions towards a spectrum of lived experiences that highlight three main areas: Legislation and Policy, Experiencing Obstetric Violence, and Advocacy, Resistance and Reframing. The time for a global recognition of obstetric violence—of the larger structural forces embedded in systems that cross cultures and violate bodies in acutely vulnerable life moments— is now. By naming it and saying it out loud, we recognize obstetric violence exists and can together begin the process of systemic change necessary to prevent it.
About the Author
Julie Johnson Searcy is an Instructor at Butler University in the History and Anthropology Department. Her research compares experiences of birthing women across clinical settings and addresses stratified reproduction, violence, race, and HIV in a post-apartheid South Africa. Nicole Hill is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her research interests include feminism, maternity, bodies, violence, and culture. She has an advocacy background in maternity health care and breastfeeding in Alberta. Angela N. Castañeda is Professor of Anthropology at DePauw University. Her research explores questions on religion and expressive culture as well as the cultural politics of reproduction, birth, and motherhood across the Americas. She specializes in the role of doulas in birth culture and is co-editor of Doulas and Intimate Labour.
"A compelling and illuminating multi-voice account that reveals/unveils the various shapes in which obstetric violence, one of the most normalized expressions of violence against women throughout the world, is expressed. A violence embedded in the social fabric in such a way that it has been perpetuated despite its devastating consequences in the lives of women, newborns, families and societies as a whole, and especially in those who are most vulnerable amongst them. Essential reading to recognize, name and address obstetric violence, opening the horizon for a discussion about giving birth to healthier and caring generations to come." —Michelle Sadler, medical anthropologist, birth researcher, and activist