2017

Mobility across Borders and Continuums of Violence: Experiences of Bangladeshi Women in Correctional Homes in Kolkata

by Rimple Mehta

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Abstract

The trajectory of violence in the lives of women engaging in transborder mobility can be plotted along a continuum where the border becomes one moment and site of violence in a series of violent experiences. Being masculinised and militarised the border becomes the breeding ground for genderbased violence. In this context, the paper discusses the experiences of violence in the lives of Bangladeshi women in Correctional Homes in Kolkata. Their narratives suggest that perpetrators and sites of violence change but the Indo-Bangladesh border remains central to their experiences of violence. This paper focuses on the violence experienced by these women before crossing the border, while crossing the border to come to India, during their stay in India and while returning to Bangladesh; coupled with emotions of fear, anxiety and shame. Their experiences of violence need to be seen in the context of their non-normative ways of being – their challenge to the norms instituted for women by the family, state and society. Their socalled deviations from normative modes of behaviour put them in situations of extreme vulnerability.

Keywords: gender-based violence, border studies, mobility

About the author:

Dr. Rimple Mehta is an Assistant Professor at the School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, India. She has studied Sociology, Social Work and Women’s Studies and has written on gender, borders, sexuality and prisons. Her paper titled “So Many Ways to Love You/Self: Negotiating Love in a Prison” won the 2013 Enloe Award and was published in the International Feminist Journal of Politics. She has also been associated with organisations and networks working against violence on women and has worked on cases of women affected by domestic violence.

Project & Publications Type: Rapoport Center Working Paper Series