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    Breaking the silence to end the violence: 'Speaking Out' as feminist strategy

    Serisier, Tanya (2021) Breaking the silence to end the violence: 'Speaking Out' as feminist strategy. In: Killean, R. and Dowds, E. and McAlinden, A.-M. (eds.) Sexual Violence on Trial: Local and Comparative Perspectives. Routledge Studies in Crime and Society. London, UK: Routledge. ISBN 9780367404277. (In Press)

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    In 2017, the explosive growth of #MeToo was hailed by many commentators as a revolution in responses to sexual harassment and violence. A year later, however, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court despite Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against him, pointed to limits to the cultural changes wrought by #MeToo. This chapter locates these moments in a longer history of ‘speaking out’ about sexual violence. Since the second wave of the 1970s, feminists have argued that speaking out can lead to individual empowerment, encourage other survivors to speak and enact significant political and cultural change. This chapter examines each of these elements to argue that the political legacy of speaking out is more complex and contradictory than this. Individuals who speak experience vulnerability alongside empowerment. The collective stories told by feminism, while powerful, are marked by racial and class exclusions, and social change has been uneven. This chapter argues that speaking out has been a powerful political tool, but one that requires critical assessment of its limitations and unintended consequences. While breaking the silence cannot end sexual violence on its own, it can, if used effectively, be a powerful feminist political strategy.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Tanya Serisier
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 16:21
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:05


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