Violence and gender

Sage Publications is offering free access to journal articles up until April 30th. Here are two related to violence and gender:

A gendered assessment of the “threat of victimization”: Examining gender differences in fear of crime, perceived risk, avoidance, and defense behaviors  – by May, Rader, and Goodrum


Rader has called for a change in how researchers study fear of crime, suggesting that fear of crime, perceptions of risk, and experiences with victimization are interrelated dimensions of the larger ‘‘threat of victimization’’ concept. In this study, the authors examine how each independent dimension affects additional theoretical dimensions of the ‘‘threat of victimization’’ and how these relationships vary by gender. Using data from residents of Kentucky, the authors estimate a series of multivariate linear and logistic regression models. The findings presented here suggest that gender differences do exist in the components of the threat of victimization and that many of the relationships in the Rader model are multifaceted, including the relationship between perceived risk, fear of crime, and avoidance and defensive behaviors. Implications of these findings for future research regarding predictors of the threat of victimization are discussed.


Women are much more likely to self-report fear of crime than men, even though they are less likely, according to official data, to experience victimization (with the exceptions of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment). This discrepancy is often called the ‘‘gender-fear paradox’’ because women’s fear of crime is incongruent with the reality of their criminal victimization (Ferraro, 1996). These elevated fear levels increase womens’ perceptions of risk and may cause women to be more likely to engage in constrained behaviors…

Gendered violence:  An analysis of the maquiladora murders  – by Katherine Pantaleo


This study analyzes the social construction of a wave of female homicides surrounding the maquiladora plants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Specifically, it explores the social construction ofthe murders by three different groups, the news media, human rights organizations, and academic researchers. The research begins with a content analysis of 35 narratives from newspapers,human rights reports, and academic journals. Sixteen of these narratives discuss North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in relation with the violence in Juarez. Analysis indicates that gender issues are intertwined with the trade agreement and concludes that the policy has aided in the disruption of the social fabric of Mexican society.

Results for Newspaper Articles

Overall, the newspaper articles do not include language such as femicide, maquiladora murder, violence toward women, and impunity nor do they suggest action or link the murders to anothersocial problem. None of the newspaper articles in the sample addressed the murders as femicidesor maquiladora murders. The perpetrators were mostly described as male serial killers. Four articlesaddressed the murders acts of violence against women, while three addressed the continuation of the murders, suggesting impunity. Finally, only one article discussed another social problem in conjunction with the maquiladora murders. A 1995 article from the Austin American Statesman described two accounts of serial killings. First, it mentioned the serial killings by a Cuban cult leader in 1989 and second it mentioned serial killings of eight teen girls in 1991. Both incidents occurred near Juarez. This particular article was the first to report the maquiladora murders.


The sample of newspaper narratives consisted of publications from as early as 1995 up until 2005. Even though the Austin American Statesman covered the murders in 1995, they were not yet known as the maquiladora murders, referred to as femicides, or portrayed as a major social problem. The continual coverage of the murders suggests that over the years, the maquiladora murders developed as an item of interest for the press. In addition, while the newspaper headlines focused mostly on the murders themselves, thewords chosen to describe themurders portrayed a sense of crisis. This is likely due to the nature of newspapers and their attempt to sensationalize stories. For example, some of thewords/phrases used are killing spree, unsolved murders, rape and murder, brutal Mexico killings, serial killings, women’s killings, Mexico’s murders, epidemic, and slayings. Despite the fact that the headlines focus most on the murders, the newspaper articles themselves mention the victims, perpetrators, and causes almost equally throughout the sample. Generally, the newspapers portray the murders as gendered sexual serial killings primarily perpetuated and caused by corruption of the criminal justice system. This is a significant contribution to defining the murders as a social problem. Specifically, the newspapers provide a visual aid that the public can use to define or construct the problem themselves. Newspaper claims-makers provide a framework for the development of a social problem, but it is up to the public to decide on the existence of a social problem. The human rights organizations and the peer-reviewed journal articles have a more specific target audience than do newspapers. This is one of the most significant differences between newspaper narratives and the narratives of human rights organizations and peer-reviewed journal articles that affects how they present their perspectives.