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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Toward a victim-survivor narrative: rape and form in Yvonne Vera's Under the Tongue and Calixthe Beyala's Tu t'appelleras Tanga
Author:Jean-Charles, Régine Michelle
Periodical:Research in African literatures
Geographic term:Africa
sexual offences
About persons:Yvonne Vera (1965-2005)ISNI
Calixthe Beyala (1961-)ISNI
Abstract:This essay examines the representation of rape in Yvonne Vera's Under the Tongue and Calixthe Beyala's Tu t'appelleras Tanga, arguing for the term 'victim-survivor' as a conceptual frame for analysing the experience of violated protagonists instead of the term 'rape survivor', which is nowadays favoured in Western-dominated rape crisis intervention discourses over the term 'victim'. Both novels help to illuminate the problem with severing survivor from victim, especially in light of their attention to black women's experiences in which strength and agency have been used historically to veil their victimization and blame them for it. Yet the additional power of these examples lies in the pervasiveness of a victim-blaming ethos, which pathologizes and restricts people who are raped. The alternative victim-survivor narrative provides a model that opens up a space to account more fully for the oscillating forces that inform subjectivity in the aftermath of rape and is far more representative of different experiences with sexual violence. Ultimately, it provides a fitting model for retheorizing sexual violence in African literature and beyond. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]