The subject of gender violence is complex because our conceptions of what constitutes violence have historically evolved. Therefore, I propose that we should try to understand gender violence neither in abstract nor in essentialist ways, but within historical frameworks and through concrete examples. In this essay I will focus on a historical genealogy of our moral views about gender violence, and, in particular, on the figure of what we call today “rape.” The question of rape is but one example of the long history of gender violence. However, this example is important to understand how violence and gender violence are related to specific conceptions of political and sexual sovereignty. My claim is that we need to pay attention to how is it possible to understand the role of imagination to interpret gender violence nowadays. My conclusion is that the moral filters that configure our “feminist imaginary” have changed our views about rape.
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