A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and by Louise du Toit

By Louise du Toit

This e-book deals a serious feminist viewpoint at the greatly debated subject of transitional justice and forgiveness. Louise Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape with a feminist philosophical discourse relating women’s or ‘feminine’ subjectivity and selfhood. She demonstrates how the hierarchical dichotomy of male lively as opposed to lady passive sexuality – which obscures the genuine nature of rape – is embedded within the dominant western symbolic body. via a Hegelian and phenomenological studying of first-person bills by way of rape sufferers, she excavates an realizing of rape that still begins to open up a manner out of the denial and destruction of woman sexual subjectivity.

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The question of Rape, Forgiveness and Reconciliation 23 power (the power to be asked for one’s forgiveness, to forgive, to consider forgiving the unforgivable) belongs therefore to the heart of the question of forgiveness. It is fi nally only the relatively powerful who ever get into a position from where they might be entitled and empowered (symbolically, socially and otherwise) to consider forgiveness. Because humans are intrinsically social beings (socially and discursively constituted) it is virtually impossible to consider forgiving something that significant (private and / or public) others do not regard as standing in need of forgiveness because they cannot make sense of the alleged damage of the alleged crime.

It thus lies in the way in which this act symbolically transformed them from militants into whores, and refused them a (sexually specific) place and identity within the political. Rape thus served to erase women’s political agency by activating their sexuality in a performance or spectacle of sexual humiliation. Women’s sexual identity, construed as private, as especially fleshy (cf. Battersby, 1998: 9) or particularly sexual, and as ‘for-men’, that is, functional, was used to defi ne the apolitical, the beyond or before of politics, the very horizon of the political.

In other words, looked at from women’s perspective, home becomes transformed from a noun into a verb, suggesting an infi nite task, which draws attention to the labour that goes into making a home and making at home. In Young’s view then, and in contrast with its traditional image of safe haven or privileged, apolitical enclave, or of a place of entrenched gender hierarchies, home can be viewed as potentially one of the most transformative and politically challenging places within the dominant order.

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