In recent years, mob attacks on women by men have drawn public attention to an emerging social phenomenon. This book draws upon concepts from critical race theory and sociocultural evolutionary theory to examine this specific form of gender violence, which takes place outside the law and is a vigilante form of enforcing traditional gender norms. The author positions vigilante gender violence as a global issue produced during specific periods of sociocultural change in conditions marked by intensified social stratification.

The catalyst for vigilante gender violence is the formal state’s breaching of the "gender bargain," the tacit psychological wage even non-elite men earn by at least not being female. When the state threatens to end the gender bargain by promoting women’s rights, the die is cast for low-status men to enforce this bargain themselves in mob attacks against women who are perceived to be violating the patriarchal order.

Seen through independent case studies in different national settings, this book provides empirical evidence that demonstrates the existence of vigilante gender violence in times when societies are shifting from one phase to another and the social hierarchies present within are disrupted. With greater understanding of when and how to predict the occurrence of this phenomenon, the author posits notable ways to prevent it from happening altogether.

part I|35 pages

Vigilante Gender Violence

chapter Chapter 1|14 pages

Defining the Problem

Vigilante Gender Violence and its Global Reach

chapter Chapter 2|19 pages

Explaining how Social Change Leads to Vigilante Gender Violence

The ‘Gender Bargain,’ Social Class Stratification, and Sociocultural Evolution

part II|71 pages

Case Studies

chapter Chapter 3|18 pages

Papua New Guinea

Hunter-Gatherers, Witch Burning, and the Implications of Colonization for Vigilante Gender Violence

chapter Chapter 4|13 pages


Horticulturalists, Pastoralists, and Social Change at the Point of a Gun

chapter Chapter 5|15 pages

South Africa

‘Corrective Rape’ amid Extreme Income Inequality

part III|32 pages

Where We Go From Here

chapter Chapter 7|19 pages

Predicting Vigilante Gender Violence

Can We See the Problem Coming?

chapter Chapter 8|10 pages

Preventing Vigilante Gender Violence

What Can We Do?