Colonial Representations 2b - Categorization of Aboriginal women by settler state


Settler Categorizations: unrapeable (or, highly rapeable)

[imagecaption] ‘Irresistable/Irresistible‘, 2000. Artist: Brenda Croft. [/imagecaption]


‘Feminist scholars have argued that Native women’s bodies were to the settler eye, like land, and as such in the settler mind, the Native woman is rendered “unrapeable” (or, highly “rapeable”) because she was like land, matter to be extracted from, used, sullied, taken from, over and over again, something that is already violated and violatable in a great march to accumulate surplus, to so called “production.”‘ .

Audra Simpson (2016, 6)

The gendered impacts of settler colonialism include the ‘dispersal’ and enforced removal or trafficking of people from country, the disruption of families and gender roles, the removal of children from families and the added vulnerability of women and girls to sexual violence from both within their communities and outside them.

These impacts flow from the differential and sexualised categorization of Aboriginal women from the outset, embodied most clearly in the typologies such as ‘the squaw’ or ‘the gin.’  These in turn render Indigenous women and girls more vulnerable to violence, as they are positioned as commodities or objects of currency on the land; or else positioned as surrogates for the land, who are sexually available (“highly rapeable”) or who may be sexually violated with impunity (“unrapeable”). As Indigenous women are criminalised, rendered deviant or less than human, violence perpetrated against them ceases to be visible as such.



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