Unearthing gendered repression: an analysis of the violence suffered by women during the civil war and Franco’s dictatorship in Southwestern Spain

The Francoist repressive strategy unleashed after the coup d’état of 17 July 1936 developed complex mechanisms of physical and psychological punishment.

Within Franco’s repressive system there was a specific procedure applied to Republican women. In this article, I provide an analysis of the repression suffered by women during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship in southwest Spain. For that purpose, I draw on stories of female victims, who suffered physical and psychological humiliation, and on mass graves with bodies of
women. The research is based on a holistic study of material, oral and written sources from a historical, archaeological and forensic anthropological perspective.

It is argued that the different repressive strategies used against the female population by Spanish fascism was motivated by the perception of women as second-class citizens and therefore inferior to men. Their punishment followed criteria of exemplarity.