The fight against sexual violence (Soundings 71, Spring 2019)

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Publication date: April 1, 2019

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Alison Phipps

A critical engagement with the feminist fight against sexual violence, especially in relation to global rightward shifts in which political and cultural narratives around gender are being reshaped and rejuvenated. In the context of a new ‘war on women’ worldwide, #MeToo and similar movements have been key to contemporary political resistance. However, mainstream movements against sexual violence are ill-equipped to address the intersections of patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism which produce sexual violence. Furthermore, reactionary strands within these movements are gaining increasing power and platforms, sometimes dovetailing with the narratives of the far right in their attacks on sex workers and trans people. I argue that to resist an intersectionality of systems, we need what Angela Davis calls an intersectionality of struggles, and that feminism which does not centre the most marginalised is not fit for purpose. 

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