This Article considers the contribution of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women to the deeper understanding of women’s dignity as it relates to the process of articulating and rearticulating international women’s rights, with particular attention on domestic violence.2 This letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, brings together some of the Catholic Church’s most important teachings on gender equality. This Article delineates norms articulated in Mulieris Dignitatem that can inform international standards regarding the protection of women from domestic violence.
To date there are no legally binding global human rights instruments that explicitly recognize the right to be free from domestic violence, and remarkably, domestic violence is not robustly emphasized in several feminist legal theories. The objective of this Article is to contribute recommendations for a more truly pro-women global community and Catholic Church. [excerpt]