How can performance prevent rape?

On-stage performance can help us reimagine what we take for granted. This blog looks at how performance can explore different ways to be a woman or a man, and negotiate relationships that are flexible, fun, and freeing.

I suggest that performance can be used as a tool in rape prevention. I look at how performative methods of rape prevention may build upon and develop other forms of social education that work to end rape, creating possibilites for different ways to engage in intimate relationships.

This blog is a personal, theoretical, and performative exploration of how performance can be used in rape prevention.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Frighten Rape Culture to Death

It seems there's no way out of rape, that it's just part of our lives. When I look to law reform, it doesn't seem to have made any difference to rape convictions nor to the actual occurance of rape. As a woman, I am just supposed to be afraid, to learn to live with the fear, or with the lack of freedom that fear imposes upon my life. I don't want to live with that. I wanna frighten rape culture to death.

Here's some theory that I've been looking at that may offer another way to look at rape, and be used in a politics of prevention.

Sharon Marcus writes of rape as a 'script'
Analyzing rape as a script, rather than a determining reality of women’s lives, allows for it to be thwarted. Sharon Marcus writes that rape is not an individual act, but instead a process, a social script.

In this script, one person takes the role of perpetrator and moves another into the complimentary role of victim. The rendering of women’s body as victim is not permanent nor inherent, but instead a process that can be studied and averted. Within the dominanat framework, women's bodies are constructed as vulnerable, passive, and receptive. Men, on the other hand, are considered to be active instigators. The rape script relies upon these characterisations. Rape is then a ‘series of signals and steps that both maintains, and is maintained by social configurations of gender' (Marcus 1992:395).

Rape must NOT be seen as an invasion of a precious, interior space

A politics of rape prevention redefines rape as something other than an invasion of precious interior space. Marcus writes that: ‘Rape engenders a sexualised female body defined as a wound’ (Marcus 1992:397). Women are constructed as a wound made real through rape. So, Marcus asserts that rape is neither a taking of oneself, nor an indelible act of violence. Women's bodies must be reconsidered so that rape does not steal a precious, interior sexuality, an object of mystery and fragility. So that women's bodies are not constructed as 'rapable', and men's bodies as able to rape.

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