Hume, Mo. “The Myths of Violence: Gender, Conflict, and Community in El Salvador.” Latin American Perspectives 35, no. 5 (September 2008): 59–76. doi:10.1177/0094582X08321957.

In “The Myths of Violence: Gender, Conflict, and Community in El Salvador”, Hume explores the establishment, normalization, and perpetuation of gender violence within families in El Salvador. Hume’s paper is structured in the following way. First, she establishes how the family acts as a source for gendered violence. Second, she argues how this violence centers on upholding the masculine identity. Finally, she argues that past and present historical violence from the state normalizes this sense of violence.

Using oral accounts from individuals residing in El Boulevar and La Vía, Hume identifies and defines violence from a non-monolithic standpoint. This is a particular strength in her scholarship. She refuses to define gender violence within one specific context. Instead, she insists that violence is hierarchical and dependent on local and regional factors within El Salvador. With this said, a primary weakness in Hume’s scholarship is that it provides a limited historical context as to how gendered violence has changed through El Salvador’s political years. Much of her evidence instead focuses on recent accounts from individuals regarding familial violence. While certain state initiatives and organizations are mentioned, it is mentioned only briefly or passingly.

What is significant about Hume’s argument, is that it emphasizes how very public acts of violence, especially in the past, continue to have an overwhelming effect on seemingly private relations. Hume’s specifically traces how “fear” and “paranoia” led many Salvadorians to maintain a sense of silence towards many forms of violence, even to violence unrelated to the State. Hume argument shows that the violence which occurred in the public sphere (i.e. state politics) continues to shape and influence the relationships within the personal sphere (i.e. family).

2017011119201616361The is a photo of General José Alberto Medrano who helped form the paramilitary group ORDEN. ORDEN is one of the organizations which Hume cites as being particularly destructive to the community of El Boulevar. El Boulevar is one of the regions she collected primary accounts from in the paper. A link to the picture can be found on the website for El Salvador Times: http://www.elsalvadortimes.com/articulo/politicos/secuestro-pleito-generales/20170111191813014778.html

About Katrina Manrique

Katrina Manrique is a fourth-year undergraduate at the University of California, Davis. Through her time as a UC Davis student, she has mobilized and advocated for the implementation of inclusive and accessible healthcare and policy. She uses her blog as a platform to discuss the challenges in reforming institutional changes at a university and state level.

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