A Statistical Analysis of the Manifestation of Structural Violence as Interpersonal Violence

  • Author / Creator
    Simpson, Tonya
  • For the past decade, the disproportionate victimization of Indigenous women across Canada has gained national attention within the spheres of activist organizations, media outlets, and political parties. Although the rates of homicidal violence towards non-Indigenous women have declined over the years, the targeting of Indigenous women persists. This observation suggests that factors unique to the victimization of the latter group exist, and these variables might be sustaining the violence that they continue to experience. Recent dialogue concerning the ongoing violence towards Indigenous women has situated the heightened rates of homicide within the greater contexts of structural violence inflicted upon Indigenous peoples. This structural violence is rooted Canada’s colonial history and is maintained by several contemporary social structures. Provided the recent association between homicidal violence and Canada’s colonial foundations affecting Indigenous women, this research project sought to determine if structural violence manifests as unique themes of interpersonal violence within this population that are distinct from major themes of violence affecting other sex and ancestrally-based victim groups. The cases of 183 homicides involving the victimization of Indigenous women, women of Colour, Caucasian women, and males were reviewed from a publicly available victim list, media outlets, and case law databases. Using a variety of statistical tests, the victim and offender profiles, circumstances of homicide, and legal outcomes of the cases were compared. The study found that differences exist in 1) the dominant themes of violence, and 2) the proportions of dominant themes of violence affecting the victim groups. Results indicate that the structural violence affecting Indigenous populations aligns with major themes of interpersonal homicidal violence that this group experiences while accounting for the disproportionate rates of victimization. Unexpectedly, this study also identified major themes of violence affecting women of Colour motivated by social systems that prioritize honour and female submission. The results of the study are contextualized by theories that understand racially-based differences in interpersonal violence as consequential to differences in the material realities of these groups that are derivative of structural violence.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.