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By Louise du Toit

This e-book bargains a serious feminist point of view at the generally 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 energetic as opposed to woman passive sexuality – which obscures the genuine nature of rape – is embedded within the dominant western symbolic body. via a Hegelian and phenomenological interpreting of first-person debts by way of rape sufferers, she excavates an realizing of rape that still starts off to open up a manner out of the denial and destruction of woman sexual subjectivity.

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Extra resources for A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and Unmaking of the Feminine Self

Example text

Rape, in particular the specific harm of rape, is thus a blind-spot of this system. The aim of this chapter is thus to look more closely at the systemic reasons for why rape cannot appear and its damages cannot be appreciated within the culturally dominant story about rape’s impossibility. My main claim in this regard is that rape’s systemic misconstruction should be understood against the background of a symbolic order which views women’s subjectivity as borderline, impossible or at least highly ambiguous and unstable.

This horizon of a ‘hyperbolic’ ethical vision of forgiveness is for Derrida indispensable for the possibility of progress of the law, and this field between the empirical and the ideal is the space he wants to open up and keep open for all ethical and political decision making. So far, I have argued that there is an implied link in Derrida’s thinking on forgiveness between pure forgiveness as forgiving the unforgivable, and the impossibility of forgiving rape. As rape victims of the struggle, these women become ideally situated to forgive the unforgivable, because 24 A Philosophical Investigation of Rape their damage cannot be made manifest within the shared moral–political language of the TRC, and because there has been no shift in these power relations (women are still being kept in their places through their fear of rape).

Like many of the rape victims discussed before, she ventures out into traditional male territory, trying to gain for herself something of men’s ‘long-legged freedom’ to roam the earth. She quickly discovers that the real challenge of freedom has more to do with spiritual strength than with physical ability. 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.

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