Domestic Violence, Women’s Rights, Feminist Theory, United States


This article uses the first domestic violence case filed against the United States in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to discuss the politics of gender and domestic violence. We discuss how gender-neutral frameworks of the case in the U.S. ignore the interpersonal gender and power issues which often attend domestic violence cases. The case before the IACHR was arguably more successful in addressing gender by drawing from the human rights literature on women’s rights. However, given that this case is the first human rights charge against the United States by a domestic violence survivor, the specifically gendered framework and unique nature of the crime could be potentially limiting for other domestic violence cases. We conclude by offering an alternative framework for domestic violence intervention in human rights cases.