This article is a response to the Lancet Commission on the Legal Determinants of Health from gendered perspectives and focusing on gender-based violence and abuse. The Lancet Commission sees the role of law as positive, indeed central in providing justice in global contexts, and this contribution explores and unpacks this assertion, drawing on some examples from India and elsewhere. Some feminists have argued that law and justice are incompatible for women, and this is sometimes borne out when we look at legal reforms and interventions in the field of gender-based violence. However, we also explore the ways in which some women have used legal reforms in creative ways to destabilize patriarchal norms, and more broadly, how absence of legal protection can undermine access to rights. We conclude that law can have a symbolic relationship with justice.
- SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research