The Newsletter 67 Spring 2014

Family ambiguity and domestic violence in Asia: Reconceptualising law and process

Maznah MohamadSaskia Wieringa

The book Family Ambiguity and Domestic Violence in Asia (2013; Brighton: Sussex University Press) raises pertinent questions as to why the incidence of domestic violence has remained as a continuing scourge. The Focus section in this issue of The Newsletter provides the abridged version of select articles within the book. Seven scholars examine comparative experiences in the Asian context in order to gauge the effectiveness of family regulations and laws in diverse national, cultural and religious setting. Although the issue of violence against women (VAW) has received much attention from scholars, social activists, policy makers and international agencies, violence in the home has persisted. Though a universal phenomenon, VAW is also context specific. As domestic violence (DV) per definition takes place within a family setting, the specific forms of families and their supporting ideologies greatly affect the specifi cities of DV in particular contexts. Comparative cultural and national responses to the issue have shown that the ambiguity of family underscores some of the gaps between the conceptual, legal and process-oriented solutions to the eradication of VAW in society.