Exploring Community Narratives of Violence Against Women among Domestic Violence Responders in Guam

Camarin G Meno
Nicole E Allen

In the Pacific Island of Guam, recent high-profile incidents of violence against Indigenous Chamoru women have sparked growing local concerns regarding rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. These and other indicators of elevated rates of violence against women in Guam are discordant with historical narratives of gender egalitarianism and community-based sanctions regarding violence against women in Chamoru culture. Using qualitative interviews with responders to violence against women in Guam, this study investigated current community narratives surrounding violence against women. Findings highlighted the centrality of culture in participant understandings of violence against women, particularly the complex interplay of themes of Indigenous cultural loss and desire for revitalization alongside a preference for Western cultural ideals. Curiously, in spite of a strong cultural framework in participant understandings of violence against women, few participants framed their professional response in cultural terms, other than to describe “culturally competent” approaches for commonly scapegoated communities in Guam. Study findings highlight the need for a closer analysis of culture in understandings of and responses to violence against women in Indigenous communities.

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Research Type(s)
Journal Article
October 4, 2023
Published in

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