Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Women’s Studies

Major Professor

Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laura Runge, Ph.D.

Keywords

Disidentification, Sexual trauma, Rape recovery, Autoethnography, Community

Abstract

This work explores: liberatory possibilities and limitations of narrative in healing from rape; the work and meanings of forgiveness, specifically seeking a complex definition of forgiveness drawing on spiritual, feminist, complexity, and phenomenological philosophies; and the relationships between narrative processes and forgiveness. I use an autoethnographic approach, offering my story of rape and healing in the aftermath. I attend to the physicality of the narrative, and to the way in which memory resides in the body, thus creating an embodied text. I examine current models of rape recovery, and the terms used by organizations, practitioners, and authors of rape narratives to frame the recovery process, contending that current models and the language of recovery fails to recognize the dynamic and non-linear trajectory of healing. I return to my own process of forgiveness, which is illustrative of the unpredictable event of forgiveness, which grows from the dissolution of self and other.

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