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Silence against Political Rape

Arab Women's Subalterniy During Political Struggles

Ola Abdalkafor

Arab Spring movements in many Arab countries revealed a gap at the heart of Arab society and politics: the large-scale subalternity of Arab women in such movements. In this essay, I hypothesize that, with few exceptions, Arab women have always avoided participation in social and political activism because of their fear of political rape – raping women as punishment during political turmoil. The essay traces the history of political rape through different stages of Arab history. The examples are taken from history, literature and international reports and they mainly cover three countries: Syria, Egypt, and Libya. These examples prove that vulnerable women’s horror at any possibility of their being sexually abused and then rejected by their families and society has always haunted them, preventing them from struggling or protesting. The essay concludes that subalternity is the only stance from which Arab women can encounter political rape. Then, the essay discusses the subalternity of Arab women in the light of the thought of the postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak. This argument leads to the contention that the silence of Arab women vulnerable to political rape should not be considered passive and that feminist theories and actions cannot be successful in supporting subaltern Arab women without the ethical responsibility theorized by Spivak as the most appropriate approach to the subaltern female. This approach entails respecting subaltern Arab women’s culture and fears and avoiding any attempt to make them copies of the European feminist self. Subaltern Arab women who are afraid of being sexually abused have the right to protect their bodies and stick to their culture while still participating in public life.

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(Para)normalizing Rape Culture

Possession as Rape in Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Annika Herb

girl readers can conceptualize and navigate social and cultural structures that shape their lived experience of girlhood. The liminality between girlhood and womanhood—the girl's presence as a sexualized being/object, and the “rape spaces” ( Altrows

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Roxanne Harde

In 1983, Andrea Dworkin addressed the Midwest Men's Conference in Minneapolis. She discussed the rape culture in which we live, noted the similarities between rape and war, and, following the title of her talk, asked for a “24-hour truce in which

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Illegible Allegations

Navigating the Meanings of Rape in Colonial Algeria

Sarah Ghabrial

What kind of crime is rape? In Western liberal contexts, the conception of rape as individualized harm, an attack “on the self by violating private boundaries,” is now so obvious as to be beyond questioning. 1 Yet, our formulation of rape as a

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The Saint Mary's Rape Chant

A Discourse Analysis of Media Coverage

Lyndsay Anderson and Marnina Gonick

been intended to challenge the problematic chant, ultimately, it reproduced rape culture discourses. In this article, we examine seven articles in periodicals published within ten days of the rape chant incident, and one printed nearly three months

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Claudia Mitchell

I met Roxanne Harde, the guest editor of this Special Issue, at the Second International Girls Studies Association conference in 2019 when I attended the panel discussion, “Representations of Rape in Young Adult Fiction.” I recall Roxanne

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Imagining nation

Women's rights and the transnational movement of Shan women in Thailand and Burma

Pinkaew Laungaramsri

This article explores the relationship between women, nation, nationalism, and transnational women’s practice through the Shan women’s movement in Thailand, particularly the international campaign to stop the systematic rape of Shan women by Burmese soldiers. Employing a feminist critique of nationalism, the article argues that transnational networks allow for the negotiation between national, local, and women’s identities. Whereas the authoritative power of nationalism continues to suppress and silence the transnational subjectivity of women, the Shan women’s movement represents a transnational attempt to contest the confinement of women’s subjectivities within the territorialized nation-state.

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Chloe Krystyna Garcia and Ayesha Vemuri

maintain systems of oppression and privilege. This is especially true in the context of rape culture, defined by Emilie Buchwald and colleagues as “a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent” (1993: ix). Online, women and girls are

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Sharifah Aishah Osman

Introduction If you cannot fight rape, better lie down and enjoy it. The school uniform worn by girls at government schools is too transparent and encourages rape and pre-marital sex. Rape culture is a divisive topic in Malaysia, and

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Tradition's Desire

The Politics of Culture in the Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma

Thembisa Waetjen and Gerhard Maré

This article examines the recent trial of ANC president Jacob Zuma, and how gender power was framed in respect to, and within, the politics of culture. The trial centred on allegations of rape by Zuma of an HIV positive woman many years his junior, who was also the daughter of a former anti-apartheid struggle comrade. All of these details were considered pertinent, not only to the legal debates about whether a crime had been committed, but also to the political debates raging around the nation's key challenges of high rates of sexual violence and the 'denialist' state response to devastating levels of HIV infection. Many Zuma supporters saw the accusation of rape as politically motivated and as evidence of an anti-Zuma conspiracy. In visibly smaller numbers, women's rights groups were present on the streets as well, trying to draw attention to the general problem of the nation's extraordinarily high rates of sexual violence and the general failure of the justice system to address cases of rape. The article argues that the fervour surrounding this trial, the burning political question of women's status was continually cast as a private matter: debates about relations between men and women came to be focused on issues of propriety, behaviour and etiquette rather than on questions about rights and power. In short, the privatisation of gender was effected through the politics of culture. As culture is politicised as a legal and secular 'right', gender is de-politicised to become a normatively 'private' and 'customary' domain. This is not merely a South African dilemma, but a dilemma which is con-concomitant to the social conditions of modernity itself.