Within research on sexual violence, womxn who have been raped are positioned as “vulnerable”participants, while researchers tend to occupy positions of “invulnerability”. Drawing on vulnerable moments from a research project which explored womxn’s experiences of rape in South Africa, this paper proposes a (more) vulnerable engagement with narratives of rape. Through attending to how vulnerability is implicated in issues of silence and agency, shame, and my own failures to witness the experiences of my participants with care, I explore the epistemic and ethical possibilities of an affective approach to researching rape. This approach asks us, as researchers, to attend to the moments during our research in which we are affected, moved and disrupted.
- sexual violence
- South Africa