Alecia Simmonds reviews 'Rape and Resistance: Understanding the complexities of sexual violation' by Linda Martín Alcoff

Alecia Simmonds reviews 'Rape and Resistance: Understanding the complexities of sexual violation' by Linda Martín Alcoff

Rape and Resistance: Understanding the complexities of sexual violation

by Linda Martín Alcoff

Polity, $39.95 pb, 280 pp, 9780745691923

Alecia Simmonds

Alecia Simmonds

Alecia Simmonds is an inter-disciplinary scholar in law and history at UTS and NYU-Sydney, and a writer for Gourmet Traveller

...

Linda Martín Alcoff ends her book Rape and Resistance with the question of love, as it has been explored in the fiction of Dominican- American writer Junot Díaz. There are no easy moral binaries in Díaz’s writing, she notes. Sex lives are navigated in the midst of intergenerational trauma transferred from mothers who are rape victims to daughters and sons. As Díaz says: ‘in the novel [The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao] you see the way the horror of rape closes in on them all. The whole family is in this circuit of rape. And, you know, the point the book keeps making again and again and again is that, in the Dominican Republic, which is to say, in the world that the DR built, if you are a Beli, a Lola, a Yunior – if you are anybody – rape is never going to be far.’ Rape, as a form of colonial violence, ripples out from individuals to affect families, societies, and communities. Masculinity, Díaz argues, becomes ‘a hyperactive retreat from the vulnerability that accompanies real intimacy’. For Alcoff, Díaz represents precisely the kind of thinking she has aimed for in her book – intersectional, community-oriented, and unafraid of ambiguities.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.