by Catharine Nienaber & Nicole Vellidis

Gender violence is not a single occurrence existing solely in the realm of one society or culture. As demonstrated through the study of the topic through natural science, social science, and the humanistic fields, it spans across every society and culture and seemingly stretches out in perpetuity. Although these essays discussed the societal issue of behavior change through the scope of violence against women, it appears that there is not a behavioral change within the overarching problem of gender violence. Gender violence has seemingly always been a threat and a terrifying reality for women. Behavioral change in domestic violence occurs on an individual level and stems from the effect of catalysts on the perpetrator.

Behavioral change, on a grand or individualist scale, cannot exist with the absence of a catalyst.

Behavioral change, on a grand or individualist scale, cannot exist with the absence of a catalyst. Often times these catalysts are an intense event that affect much more than an individual, causing behavioral change to take place on a large scale and causing it to be included as a major societal issue. These societal issues, as discussed by Stojanowski, can not be fully analyzed by utilizing one bioarchaeology perspective. In order to produce solidified conclusions that possess the potential to assist in analyzing a topic, it is necessary for bioarchaeologists to combine their approaches.

Within bioarchaeology and similar scientific fields, conclusions are often drawn from empirical evidence and skeletal examination. While this natural science approach is overall more observable and quantifiable as a result of physical evidence, other approaches are necessary in seeing the entire picture. In terms of violent behavior towards women, observable injuries seen in the skeletal record are commonly marked down as evidence to guide in explaining a narrative or determining causation. Albeit revealing in nature, physical evidence only provides a small glimpse into details of what transpired. Bioarchaeologists must look past fractures, cranial injuries, or projectile based wounds in order to ascertain a full explanation.

Examination of physical data is often not sufficient without also examining humanistic and sociological perspectives. These two other biocultural perspectives assist in providing links that reveal the more overtly implicit human nature of the topics studied. Within the social science lens, researching human remains with societal context brings forth biocultural perspectives, since the human body is a product of its environment. The plasticity of bones allows bioarchaeologists to interpret the living experience of certain groups within societies, especially those who were not privy to equal social statuses. A humanistic approach towards bioarchaeology is important for various reasons, one being the examination of the remains as actual individuals who lived and possessed lives as intricate and complex as humans today. This is helpful in the context of behavioral change in domestic violence because it allows bioarchaeologists to look past the physical markings on the bone and discover the personal, environmental, and social catalysts that were involved in causing an individual to turn to domestic violence.

By understanding the catalysts and elements that contribute to the occurrence of domestic violence through three bioarchaeological lenses, further understanding and prevention of modern gender violence may be possible.

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