n Africa Insight - Rape and the State - sexual violence and its political narrative and othering in 21st century South Africa

Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article suggests a critical interrogation of the widely unrecognised intersection of rape and the state. It proposes a political lens, positing the rape crisis continuum as the result of an interplay within South Africa's past and current political spaces during and after apartheid that produces and reproduces a specific political narrative of rape through a continuous gendered 'othering' of women. The emergence of this political narrative - how the story of rape within political discourses and spaces is 'being told' (constructed and implemented) - has created and gradually expanded the normative conceptualisation of rape in South Africa. This political narrative, coupled with a gendered 'othering' and the positioning of the traditional masculine political 'self' against the feminine 'other' by actors and agencies within the state, expands the normative conceptualisation of rape.

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