As I have demonstrated in this chapter the deeply entrenched dichotomy between public and private spheres, which can be found in both domestic and international law, including international refugee law, has severely hindered women seeking asylum. The gender-related persecution that women face is often deemed to take place in the ‘private’ sphere and consequently is considered to fall outside the protection of international refugee law. However, courts very often misconstrue the nature of gender-related persecution and deem sexual violence by military officials, for example, to be a ‘private’ act. The stereotypical construction of refugee women as ‘vulnerable’ and apolitical has also had a negative impact on the success of women asylum-seekers’ claims. Especially with regard to asylum applications based on domestic violence, the most prominent feature in the current asylum jurisdiction in Western states is “the limited reference to recent developments in international human rights standards on domestic violence”. As Mullally argues, with regard to gender-related persecution in general and domestic violence in particular, “the worlds of refugee and human rights law continue to remain apart”. This point, manifested in the political nature of both, domestic violence and the resistance to it, continues to be challenged by the Western states under asylum jurisdiction. Ultimately, asylum adjudicators continue to view the political nature of resistance to domestic violence as a ‘personal matter’, and consequently “the ‘political opinion’ ground of refugee law frequently remains beyond the reach of refugee women” as further discussed under sub- chapter 4 3.1
Gender Asylum Harms: Extensive Now Domestic violence hurts everyone Nata Duvvury , journalist, “Violence Against women Harms Us All: Will Measuring the Pain Help Prevent It?” THE GUARDIAN, 10—28— 16 , - prevent-it, accessed 8-12-18. Despite the recognition that violence against women (VAW) is a global health emergency – one in three women and girls experience violence at least once in their life from the age of 15 – it has not inspired action by governments. At an individual level, violence immediately affects the health of a woman or girl. The mental and physical health effects can lead to poor earnings, employment instability, and low productivity; they can also result in women being unable to undertake household tasks, like cooking or bringing her children to school, which in turn affects the wellbeing of her children and extended family. These impacts, over a lifetime, reflect a loss of human potential for the individual, her community and the society and economy.
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- Winter '07