A Philosophical Investigation of Rape (Routledge Research in by Louise Du Toit

By Louise Du Toit

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Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape utilizing a feminist philosophical discourse referring to women’s subjectivity and selfhood. The e-book presents a critique of the dominant knowing of rape and its linked harm, and indicates alternatives.

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As the unconditional welcome (Levinas, 1975) and the Rape, Forgiveness and Reconciliation 25 unconditional, inexpressible and powerless forgiveness (Derrida, 2002), as the ungrounded ground or origin of man’s becoming (Lyotard, 1989), woman’s borderline, subject position fi nally means that she lacks both a border and a ground of her own being and becoming. She remains difference from and difference for the masculine universal. In these metaphysics, feminine difference tends to remain always already appropriated for masculine being (belonging, homecoming) and masculine becoming (venturing forth), in both its transcendental and transcendent modes.

Historically and traditionally, women have been excluded within the South African context from defi nitions of the political through highly patriarchal cultures and social institutions. Therefore, the qualification of ‘politically motivated’, applied uncritically, may prejudice against the inclusion of women’s suffering by for example, the presupposition that women’s lives and bodies belong to the private rather than the political realm. Can rape ever be politically motivated if rape is sexualised and thereby privatised, or, as explained earlier, if rape functions to police the borders of the masculine political?

Storytelling, gift-giving and teaching children about the meanings of things also keep these values and histories alive. Basically, then, home anchors identity in the concrete world, by expressing personal and super-personal narratives, meanings and values. For Young, ‘home’ also carries (apart from its conservative connotations with masculine and class privilege) ‘a core positive meaning as the material anchor for a sense of agency and a shifting and fluid identity, describ[ing] conditions that make the political possible’ (Young, 1997: 159, emphasis added) .

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