In the new monograph, Feminism, Violence Against Women, and Law Reform. Decolonial Lessons from Ecuador, I study feminist law reform on violence against women (VAW), from a decolonial perspective, informed by fieldwork conducted in Ecuador between 2015 and 2019. There is a tradition of feminist and critical scholarship interrogating social actors’ resort to law reform and criminal justice as emancipatory tactics, given that the penal apparatus typically reproduces race, gender, and class subordination.
While feminist contributions to global penal expansion have been discussed by critics of “carceral” and “governance feminism”, less has been said about the progressive discourses that co-produce today’s framing of VAW, including human rights advocacy and the doctrines proposing a “constitutionalised”, minimal, and democratic criminal law. More could be said, as well, about the mechanisms by which feminist proposals are reshaped when they reach governing agencies; for instance, colonial rationales on family protection and motherhood, still underlie the legal treatment of domestic violence in Latin America and other post-colonial sites.