Narrative constructions of sexual violence as told by female rape survivors in three populations of the southwestern United States: Scripts of coercion, scripts of consent

Keith V. Bletzer, Mary P. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a growing literature on the narrative construction of rape as sexual violence. This is puzzling, since, in certain contexts, violence may stifle narrative production. Researchers of atrocities, for example, propose that the experience of recurring terror disrupts narrative cohesion in reporting lived trauma. Genocidal horror occurs in the context of communities and ethnic groups. Our rape survival data from women of three populations in the southwestern United States reflect traumas of sexual violence against women, experienced within everyday lives. From interviews with 62 female rape survivors, we (1) identify narrative conventions and linguistic devices to show how these women structure accounts of sexual assault that reflect their cultural background; (2) contrast scripts of coercion and consent; (3) examine how the way in which these women describe the coercive actions of the perpetrator(s) contradicts the assumptions of legal discourse; and (4) discuss the narrative production of several women in abusive relationships and compare it to the narrative production (or lack thereof) of persons who experience state-engineered terror.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-156
Number of pages44
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004

Keywords

  • Coercion and consent
  • Rape survival
  • Southwestern United States (Cheyenne, Mexicana, and Anglo)
  • Women's narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology

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