Rape & Survival within Counter-geographies: (Dis)Pleasure in Disrupting Globalized Universals

Monica Reyes, Old Dominion University and The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley


There is already significant scholarship (Heaton; Hesford, Huggan, Powell) which demonstrates that metanarratives, largely produced and consumed by Western audiences contribute to the rhetorical choices of the subaltern’s stories as well as listeners’ interpretation/ validation of place-based experiences. This paper further contributes to this work by examining how humanitarian narratives which utilize rape as a means of rhetorical agency within counter-geographies (Sassen) is a starting place for postcolonial conversations about pathways for mindful, global intervention within local contexts. I briefly examine two cultural representations of humanitarian rape narratives (human interest news story and fiction) to illustrate the complex rhetorics of humanitarian rape narratives and how individuals perform commodified identities within humanitarian contexts. Ultimately, I advocate for a deconstruction of the universal humanitarian rape narrative through rhetorical ecology theory (Biesecker, Edbauer) in order to resist the constricting perspectives and solutions resulting from globalization.


rape narratives; postcolonialism; rhetorical ecology theory; globalization; counter-geographies

Full Text: