The International Journal of Restorative Justice


Dancing the legal prohibition of restorative justice in intimate partner violence against women: flamenco beats as encounter

Keywords intimate partner violence, risk, emancipation, restorative justice, flamenco
Authors Gema Varona Martínez
Author's information

Gema Varona Martínez
Gema Varona Martinez is a senior researcher at the Basque Institute of Criminology, University of the Basque Country, Donostia/San Sebastian, Spain. Corresponding author: Gema Varona at
  • Abstract

      Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women committed by adult men is one victimisation in which restorative justice is prohibited in Spain. Considering the emerging criticism against this prohibition, this contribution aims to think about safety and risk as part of a dynamic continuum where the notion of emancipation from interpersonal and institutional abuse of power emerges. After presenting a case study of the use of the art of flamenco dancing by a woman victim of IPV, some conclusions are drawn through a hybrid thematic analysis of data compiled from ethnographic observation and an in-depth interview with this woman and her flamenco maestra or teacher, also a woman. Dancing with a cane serves as a metaphor for the self-reflection and the social support needed to allow the beats for new emancipatory meanings to primary and secondary victimisation. In that complex process, some women might gain security to hold a conversation with themselves, but also to establish an indirect dialogue with the responsible man and the society where both victims and offenders belong. By doing so, the general prohibition for restorative justice is questioned.

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