Feminism and the Ethics of Reconciliation

TitleFeminism and the Ethics of Reconciliation
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsToit, Louise du
EditorVeitsch, Scott
Book TitleLaw and the Politics of Reconciliation

The question or issue of rape constitutes a blind spot, a particularly salient symptom, or even a paradigmatic or borderline case of what was passed down as the dominant 'western symbolic order’. This chapter forms part of an attempt to come to an understanding of the ‘meaning’ or significance of rape within this particular order, which I describe as patriarchal. The relevance of such an understanding within this limited context pans out in at least two ways: (1) That there is quite simply a moral, ethical and political duty to form a sound understanding of rape as a phenomenon, not only to respond more adequately to victims and perpetrators of rape after the event, but also to think more clearly and strategically about rape prevention. (2) This analysis of rape is also meant to serve a broader project, namely to explore the question or issue of women’s subjectivity or selfhood within the western philosophical symbolic order. It is argued that ‘the problem of rape’ is intimately tied up with women’s problematic selfhood within this same order.

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