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Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention

Marcus, Sharon

In this essay I propose that we understand rape as a language and use this insight to imagine women as neither already raped nor inherently rapable. I will argue against the political efficacy of seeing rape as the fixed reality of women's lives, against an identity politics which defines women by our violability, and for a shift of scene from rape and its aftermath to rape situations themselves and to rape prevention. Many current theories of rape present rape as an inevitable material fact of life and assume that a rapist's ability to physically overcome his target is the foundation of rape. Such a view takes violence as a self-explanatory first cause and endows it with an invulnerable and terrifying facticity which stymies our ability to challenge and demystify rape.


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Feminists Theorize the Political

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
March 4, 2013