Carceral feminism and coercive control: when Indigenous women aren’t seen as ideal victims, witnesses or women

A documentary series aimed to spark national conversation about criminalising coercive control.

Indeed, Hill’s aim to criminalise coercive control is part of a larger national agenda. It was the first priority set for the Queensland government’s recently established Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

The taskforce and documentary both call for a carceral solution to coercive control – coercive control refers to systemic domestic violence that operates through a matrix of subtle practices including surveillance, gaslighting, financial control, and fear of potential violence.

This plan for criminalising coercive control has been met with sustained critique from a range of Indigenous women academics, activists and frontline workers. They argue such a solution would result in more Indigenous women being imprisoned than protected.

These concerns are evidenced statistically, by the staggering increases in Indigenous female incarceration. They are also shown clearly in the story of Tamica herself, who was “misidentified” as an offender by the police (which included a female officer).

This has many rightfully questioning the function of Indigenous women’s trauma in narratives constructed by carceral feminists – those who see state institutions such as police and prisons as appropriate solutions to gender based violence.

A key point we raise is the failure of this approach to understand how the state itself perpetrates abuse and coercive control over Indigenous women.

Source: Carceral feminism and coercive control: when Indigenous women aren’t seen as ideal victims, witnesses or women

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