Rape as Torture : re-reading the rape of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19

Van der Westhuizen, Renate (2016-02-18)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Rape has become a way of life in South Africa. From narratives lived and shared, we know how pervasive violence against women is, to such a degree that some refer to it as a gender civil war in South Africa. The reality is that South African women have a greater chance of being raped than graduating from High School. Every day we read about the rape of yet another woman, child or baby. Their used and abused bodies are found in public toilets, construction sites or left out in the veld. Some live to tell the tales of horror, other’s bodies are raped beyond recognition. Those women, who are not yet raped, live in fear of the threat of rape, because the threat of rape is an efficient reminder that women are not safe and their bodies not theirs. This study will explore recent theories that understand rape in terms of torture as a hermeneutical framework for reading the rape narrative portrayed in Judges 19-21. In the first instance, this thesis will outline recent theories that understand rape in terms of torture. In Chapter 2 it will be shown that it is particular important to demonstrate the significance of classifying rape as torture. In the second instance I will re-read Judges 19-21 through the theoretical lens of rape as torture. As an Old Testament Feminist scholar, I argue that it is important to have a good understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of rape that one then utilize when reading the biblical stories that deal with rape. I propose that we must go back to the biblical text and apply rape as torture to the ancient stories. Building upon and in conversation with these readings of Judges 19-21, I propose that new perspectives on the narrative in Judges 19-21 are revealed when one reads and analyses the narrative through the theoretical lens of Rape as Torture. In this regard, I will employ the theoretical framework identified in the second chapter of this thesis that builds on theoretical perspectives regarding rape of Catharine MacKinnon, Elaine Scarry and within a South African context, Louise du Toit, as a way to reread the narrative of Judges 19-21. Finally, I will demonstrate in this thesis how a biblical text such as Judges 19 can serve as a conscientization tool regarding the reality and the effect of rape in our society. As a religious studies educator working in a school context, I believe that biblical literature can serve as an important pedagogical tool that strengthens our ability to confront sexual violence. Therefore this thesis is developed not only for the victims of sexual violence, but also with the purpose of playing some role in changing the way young people and society view rape.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verkragting het in Suid-Afrika deel van ons alledaagse bestaan geword. Vanuit die verhale wat geleef en gedeel word, is dit duidelik dat geweld teen vroue so vollop in ons land is, dat daarna verwys word as ‘n geslagsburgeroorlog in Suid- Afrika. Die realiteit is dat Suide-Afrikaanse vroue ‘n beter kans het om verkrag te word, as om ‘n skoolloopbaan te voltooi. Daagliks lees ons oor die verkragting van nog ‘n vrou, kind of baba. Hul gebroke en gebruikte liggame word in publieke badkamers, tussen bourommel of in die veld gelos. Sommige oorleef om die gru verhaal te vertel, ander se liggame word onherkenbaar verniel. Die voue wat nog nie verkrag is nie, leef met die konstante vrees van verkragting wat dien as ‘n herinnering dat hul nie veilig is nie en dat hul liggame nie meer hul eie is nie. In hierdie studie sal daar na onlangse teorieë rondom verkragting as marteling gekyk word, met die oog om hierdie standpunt as ‘n hermeneutiese raamwerk vir die lees en verstaan van die verkragting in Rigters 19-21 aan te wend. Eerstens sal die tesis die onlangse teorieë met betrekking tot verkragting as marteling bespreek. In Hoofstuk 2 sal daar gefokus word op die belangrikheid daarvan om verkragting as marteling te sien. Tweedens sal ek Rigters 19-21 herlees met behulp van die teoretiese lens van verkragting as marteling. As ‘n Ou Testamentiese feministiese geleerde, argumenteer ek dat dit belangrik is om die onderliggende teorieë van verkragting ten volle te verstaan en dan te ontgun wanneer die Bybelse verhale van verkragting gelees en bestudeer word. Ek stel voor dat ons terug gaan na die Bybelse teks en dan verkagting as marteling toepas op hierdie eeue oue verhale. Deur te bou op hierdie perspektief met die lees van Rigters 19-21, stel ek dus voor dat die gesprek voortgesit word vanuit die oogpunt van verkragting as marteling. Ek sal dus in die tweede hoofstuk van hierdie tesis ‘n teoretiese raamwerk identifiseer gebaseer op die teoretiese perspektiewe van Catherine MacKinnon, Elaine Scarry en binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, Louise du Toit, wat gebruik sal word om die verhaal in Rigters 19-21 te herlees. Laastens sal ek vasstel hoe ‘n Bybelse teks soos Rigters 19-21 kan dien as ‘n bewusmakingsinstrument om die realiteite en die effek van verkragting in ons gemeenskap bloot te lê. As ‘n Religieuse Studie opvoeder wat werk in ‘n skoolkonteks, glo ek dat die Bybelse literatuur kan dien as ‘n belangrike pedagogiese middel om die kwessie rondom seksuele geweld aan te spreek. Hierdie tesis het dus nie net ontwikkel om die situasie van slagoffers van seksuele geweld aan te spreek nie, maar dit het ook die doel om ‘n rol te speel in die wyse waarop jongmense vandag oor verkragting dink en praat.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98659
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