Securing Muslim Women’s Safety: Organising Against Domestic Violence in the ‘Age of Terror’

Room 920
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


Speaker: Dr Amy Piedalue, University of Melbourne

Drawing upon ethnographic field research with Muslim communities in Hyderabad, India, and Seattle, U.S., this paper responds to the question: What are the connections between the intimate, everyday spaces of the home and the geopolitical production of a homeland/nation-state? I consider the ways in which local and global manifestations of reinvigorated Islamophobia shape vulnerability to violence for Muslim women and their communities in each place. Based on collaborative research with three community-based NGOs organizing against domestic violence, my findings suggest that the precariousness of everyday life for marginalized Muslim communities significantly shapes efforts to reduce violence and to ‘secure Muslim women’s safety’. Counter-terrorism rhetoric and practices in both the U.S. and India involve imaginings of a secular nation-state with ‘no place’ for the presumed ‘anti-modern’ thinking of ‘violent Muslims’. These geopolitical productions shape the intimate spaces of the home through structural violence and spatial exclusion, and justify state violence against Muslim communities. My collaborative, transnational comparison reveals that in imagining safer and more secure lives for Muslim women, their families and communities, women’s organizations in Hyderabad and Seattle work against not only domestic violence, but also structural violence and anti-Muslim racism. In this way, Muslim women deploy diverse peace-building efforts to reshape home(land) spaces and in so doing, defy contemporary Orientalist representations of their passivity and victimhood.

Amy Piedalue is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australia India Institute and University of Melbourne. She studies gender, regional modernities, and social movements in contemporary India and South Asian diasporas. Amy is particularly interested in the complex inequalities and social justice possibilities that shape activism responding to gendered violence in marginalized communities. Her recent research explored these issues through the practices and theory-making of grassroots women’s collectives in Hyderabad, India and Seattle, U.S.A. Amy’s work also draws upon over 14 years of experience in activism against gendered violence, and has been particularly enriched by the critical interventions of community-based organizations led by immigrant women and women of colour in the U.S. and by grassroots women’s collectives and NGOs in India.

MAEVe Seminar Series

The Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and their Children (MAEVe) was established in 2015 to draw together research and evaluation capacity across the University, in partnership with community, industry and government agencies, to respond to this pressing challenge.

MAEVe strives to make a difference to the lives of women, families and communities by addressing and preventing violence against women through interdisciplinary and intra-institutional collaboration.

MAEVe's lunchtime seminar series is held fortnightly (with the exception of holidays)

Semester 2 Program

All events are held on Tuesdays between 1pm and 2pm at Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton.

25 July920Violence and Disability: Contemplating the IntersectionsJessica Cadwallader
8 August224Children's Voices in Family Violence Practice and ResearchAnita Morris
22 August920Sexual Violence and the Culture of ImpunityDolly Kikon
5 September920New Psychological Perspectives on Objectification and Violence Against WomenAdriana Vargas Saenz and Michelle Stratemeyer
19 September920Securing Muslim Women's Safety: Organising Against Domestic Violence in the 'Age of Terror'Amy Piedalue
10 October223Understanding Women's Mobility and Empowerment in Bangladesh's Garment IndustryRimi Khan
24 October920Gender and Activism for Indonesian Survivors of Enforced Military Prostitution during the Japanese Occupation of the Netherlands East IndiesKate McGregor
14 November224Intervention Orders Online: Early Results of an Evaluation of the Online Application for FVIOs in Three Magistrates' CourtsStuart Ross
28 November224Violence Against Women in Indian Print MediaAmanda Gilbertson