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This paper explores the complications of naming and interpreting experiences of sexual violation that arise from the complexity of experience and the possibility of a discursive relativism. If our experiences are discursively and historically constituted, even in part, by the happenstance of the cultures we are born into, by what Foucault wonderfully called our historical a priori, how does this alter the epistemic status, and fruitfulness, of experience claims, and the epistemic authority of survivors? I argue that interpretive processes are usefully understood as occurring within a phenomenological context and as a practice of enacting affordances: in this way variability can be explained without obviating the special epistemic status of survivors.


Institute for Social Justice

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Journal Article

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