By Louise du Toit
This booklet deals a severe feminist standpoint at the largely debated subject of transitional justice and forgiveness. Louise Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape with a feminist philosophical discourse pertaining to women’s or ‘feminine’ subjectivity and selfhood. She demonstrates how the hierarchical dichotomy of male lively as opposed to lady passive sexuality – which obscures the real nature of rape – is embedded within the dominant western symbolic body. via a Hegelian and phenomenological analyzing of first-person money owed via rape sufferers, she excavates an realizing of rape that still begins to open up a fashion out of the denial and destruction of woman sexual subjectivity.
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Extra info for A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and Unmaking of the Feminine Self
The two poles he identifies, namely that of forgiveness understood in terms of nonnegotiable, uneconomic, apolitical, nonstrategic unconditionality (or pure forgiveness) and forgiveness as political processes of reconciliation and reconstitution of the health or normality of the corpus socians, are simultaneously irreducible to one another and they remain indissociable. 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.
Sanders, 2002: 209, Krog, 1998: 178–79). They chose to draw attention to the multiple ways in which they were being and had been silenced rather than to be doubly silenced by exposing their suffering but having it nullified or trivialised by the constraints of the context. One must ask provisionally whether public communication in the TRC broke down at the point of women’s sexual violation because women could not speak, or rather, because men could not hear. The failure of the TRC to forge a vocabulary and a public space within which to address women’s fundamental, structural marginalization within politics—whether struggle, transition or reconciliation politics—in fact ensured that it remains (structurally, logically, politically) impossible to publicly pose the question of forgiveness to women rape victims, fourteen years into a democratic dispensation.
Because women’s subjectivity as such is under suspicion and repressed, and because women’s sexual difference from men is the rubric under which women’s subjectivity is so erased, there is a deep problem about allowing women to be the subjects of their own sexuality. This deep problem has been ‘dealt with’ within the western symbolic order through a symbolizing strategy which has consistently portrayed female sexuality as an appropriable object with no male equivalent. Not 34 A Philosophical Investigation of Rape only was female sexuality objectified in the ancient worldview of the west, women were moreover reduced to their sexual function for men; in other words, the whole woman was considered a piece of sexual property naturally or inherently belonging to a man.