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