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Another Rape? Persistence of public/private divisions in sexual violence debates in India

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173–177
JournalDialogues in Human Geography
Issue number2
PublishedJul 2016

King's Authors


In this intervention piece, I reflect upon the recent spate of highly publicized rapes in India to examine the persistence of public/private divisions in the debates and interventions around sexual violence. Using the example of the most recent case of the Badaun rapes, I suggest that it is the lack of critical reflection on the spatiality and intersectionality of this violence across the divides of public/private that is ultimately stifling potentially progressive interventions in this area. I will suggest that constructing rape as a spatialization of ‘urban anomie’, or in Badaun as a consequence of the lack of toilets, establishes rape as an ‘other’ space outside the ‘ordinary’ spaces of political, social and cultural institutions of state, community or family. Instead I propose that the examination of sexual violence that transcend public/private divides will allow us to see rape as embedded within the violence of social power relations across spaces and scales.

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