Rape and the State: Sexual Violence and its Political Narrative and Othering in 21st Century South Africa

  • S Hirschauer


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.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-641X
print ISSN: 0256-2804