The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand, and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’ dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment). The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).
’s assertion, gratia non tollit naturam, sed perficit , there is the recognition of the existence and dignity of a purely ‘natural’ sphere of rational and ethical values.’ A. P. D’Entrèves, The Medieval Contribution to Political Thought: Thomas Aquinas, Marsilius of Padua, Richard Hooker (London, Oxford University Press, 1939), p. 21. W
, 1988); S. Moller Okin, Women in Western Political Thought (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988). See also Meyersfeld, Domestic Violence, p. 100; H. Charlesworth, C. Chinkin and S. Wright, ‘Feminist approaches to international law’, American Journal of International Law 85 (1991) 613, p. 615; R. Gavison, ‘Feminism and the public/private distinction’, Stanford Law Review 45 (1992) 1; C. Romany, ‘State responsibility goes private: a feminist critique of the public/private distinction in international human rights law’, in Cook, Human Rights of Women, 85; K