Gender-based violence (GBV) is a product and manifestation of gender relations that inflicts harm disproportionately on those who identify as women and girls. In the Pacific island country of Niue, there is a lack of research and attention on the issue which has given rise to this research aimed at considering the challenges and opportunities in addressing GBV. Not having spaces to talk about GBV is one way in which it can persist. By making space to discuss GBV both at community and personal levels, there is room to craft solutions. The aim of this research is to examine ways of creating spaces for safe discussion which allow for Niue women’s narratives in order to eliminate violence in social relations in Niue and promote healthy relationships.
This research involved 27 informant interviews with 32 total key informants and 14 family-tree mapping interviews using blended narrative-Talanoa methods. Guided by a genealogical approach, I explored spaces in which GBV is raised and piloted a family-tree mapping approach for an in-depth exploration of family spaces. The careful work of Pacific scholars and artists around relationship and empathy provided valuable guidance in how I positioned myself as a non-Pacific researcher.
The findings suggest that the transgression of gender roles in Niue contributes to GBV incidents in interpersonal relationships. While there are challenges to addressing GBV in Niue, this analysis of spaces with an emphasis on family spaces also presents several opportunities for transformation. Additionally, the framework presents a new way of engaging with the issue of GBV in terms of research and intervention through family-tree mapping.