Intersectionality & Violence Against Women of Color

Intersectionality is a tool for analysis, advocacy and policy development that addresses multiple discriminations and helps us understand how different sets of identities impact access to rights and opportunities. Intersectionality is used to study, understand and respond to the ways in which gender intersects with other identities and how these intersections contribute to unique experiences of oppression and privilege. Association for Women’s Rights in Development

“Since violence is used to control women in patriarchal societies, it is important to understand the nature of patriarchy and its relationship to other forms of oppression such as racism, colonialism, heterosexism, etc. Violence against women of color is affected by the intersection of racism and sexism and the failures of both the feminist and antiracist movements to seriously address this issue.” Crenshawe (1994) Intersectionality, Identity Politics, & Violence Against Women of Color


Oppression is the systemic mistreatment of a defined group of people that is reinforced by society. This system of advantage enables privileged groups to exert control over targeted groups by limiting their rights, freedom, and access to necessary resources and social power.

Institutional/State Violence

Some examples of the effect of state intervention on abused women of color include:

  1. The arrest of those very same abused women for domestic violence, when they were using self-defense
  2. Unwarranted removal by the state of children from women who have been abused
  3. Prosecution of battered women involved in criminal conduct (which is often part of the abuse by the abusive partner)

Sokoloff (2005) Examining the Intersections of Race, Class & Gender

“The patriarchal state’s initial preoccupation with women’s morality and decency is a form of institutional violence that makes women primarily responsible for the violence directed against them.”
Fregoso, R.L.(2006) The Complexities of “Feminicide” on the Border