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Violence, Victimhood And Rape With Reference To Susan Brison's Aftermath

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Violence, Victimhood and Rape with reference to Susan Brison's Aftermath

Word Count: 854 words

The Oxford Dictionary describes rape as the act of forcing an individual to have sexual intercourse against their will. This essay will explore many different aspects of violence, in particular rape, its effects on the victims and will discuss the strategies that can be implemented by victims to help them cope with there lives afterwards. It also discusses the sociological function of blaming rape victims for there attack.

One of the reasons rape is so damaging is the fact that victims often feel that their lives have been changed afterwards. It is not unusual for these victims to feel that they have lost their sense of identity in the world. In Susan Brison's book Aftermath, she comments on her own experience, as well as the experiences of other victims she spoke to, of feeling as if, although they had survived the sexual attack, they hadn't really survived at all. She explains this feeling as an insufficiency for human language to relate to the emptiness experienced by victims of sexual violence after an attack. In Brison's own words; "Things had stopped making sense." She attributes this to a possible Ð''heightened lucidity' that she experienced during the attack that led her to see a profoundly disorientating picture of the world. For Brison, like many other rape survivors, the world was no longer a safe place. Even as a philosopher, Brison's knowledge of philosophy failed to offer her any consolation in what she had experienced. The world had become morally unacceptable.

Another aspect of rape that makes it a particularly damaging experience is the manner in which society treats victims of rape. Victims frequently feel ashamed after sexual assaults and are reluctant that others find out about it. Brison didn't want anyone to know that she had been sexually assaulted for this very reason. When she did reveal to people the nature of her attack, she noted that while she was often asked to disclose the motive behind her attempted murder, when she told people that the attack was sexually motivated this was seen by others as an acceptable motive and not another crime that needed further explanation. It seemed to her that people deem male violence against women as natural. As well as this, society is often inclined to view rape as being the victim's own fault. Rape is often justified as being a failure on the part of the victim to dress appropriately or to act in a sexually non-provocative manner. Brison challenges this view, as she believes that it is a means of keeping women in their place. Her own experience provides evidence against this view in society. Even by the standards set down by society, Brison's attack occurred through no fault of her own.

Often, throughout society, fear of rape is encouraged to oppress women and to restrict their rights. In Aftermath, Brison takes note of this fact and proposes that empowerment, through learning to defend oneself, is a means of alleviating oppression and returning some of the rights. She also believes that through doing this, victims of sexual violence can be aided in returning closer



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