Sexual Violence and New Forms of Religious Traditionalism in the Croatian Post-Conflict Context

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This paper will focus on sexual violence and new forms of religious traditionalism emerging in the Croatian political context and their engagement with the term gender. Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodological framework will be used to investigate the debates surrounding the ratification of the Istanbul Convention (Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) in 2018 in Croatia. Religious conservative organisations started to frequently utilize the term “gender ideology” to created fear, confusion and moral panic in the public discourse in connection to the ratification. According to their interpretations, “gender ideology” in the Istanbul convention was smuggled in to destroy the traditional Croatian Catholic heterosexual family by enabling children to choose their own gender. Croatia has undergone significant changes since the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s dismissing its socialist legacy with the support of the Catholic Church and its staunch anti-communist rhetoric which seeks to undo any progress in terms of gender equality achieved during socialism. Researching sexual violence from the intersectional feminist framework poses a challenge in a climate where the conservative discourse has highjacked any discussion of sexual violence in the public sphere by contesting the term gender itself and making it a questioned category of social analysis. Even though Croatia has ratified the Istanbul Convention in April 2018, the government has issued alongside an “interpretative statement” further legitimizing the term “gender ideology."
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalFacta Universitatis, Series: Law and Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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