By Louise du Toit
This publication bargains a severe feminist standpoint at the commonly debated subject of transitional justice and forgiveness. Louise Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape with a feminist philosophical discourse bearing on women’s or ‘feminine’ subjectivity and selfhood. She demonstrates how the hierarchical dichotomy of male energetic as opposed to girl passive sexuality – which obscures the genuine nature of rape – is embedded within the dominant western symbolic body. via a Hegelian and phenomenological examining of first-person debts through rape sufferers, she excavates an realizing of rape that still begins to open up a manner out of the denial and destruction of girl sexual subjectivity.
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Additional resources for A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and Unmaking of the Feminine Self
It is striking that in the literature on rape, and in rape verdicts, two distinct and mutually contradicting languages or ‘stories’ about rape can be discerned. The one story speaks of what I call the impossibility and the other about the possibility of rape. I deal with the first story about the impossibility of rape in this chapter and with the second story in the next one. By the impossibility of rape I mean that rape is fundamentally misconstrued in this version or understanding of it, to the extent that its true nature—the violent erasure of a woman victim’s sexual subjectivity—disappears from view, and rape properly understood is regarded as an impossibility.
She makes herself at home; she fi nds a make-shift home of sorts, living in a shack together with her dogs. She gains the freedom she yearned for by learning to live with herself, on her own, but the story depicts another aspect as crucial to her newly gained freedom: she also learns to live with the multiple selves inside her, namely herself as child, queen, hunter and so on. She prefers this existence to deriving her identity from a man (father, husband or son) and from being a homemaker for him; 32 A Philosophical Investigation of Rape instead, she makes a temporary home for herself in which she can see her self (and selves) reflected.
A responsible, ‘proper’ woman does not have an independent, mature or autonomous political identity, but only a private and supportive (secondary) one. The woman represents the home which has to be kept ‘pure’ of politics and violence, and her primary responsibility is to keep that home going for the men who will one day return. The message to these women was clear: you cannot both be a woman (sexually specific) and a political agent. When you try to be both, you become a prostitute, and your sexuality becomes available to men in general.
A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and Unmaking of the Feminine Self by Louise du Toit