Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Jools Gilson & Vittorio Bufacchi
Feminist Review
The Ripples of Violence
Optional Fields
violence; Susan Brison; Alice Sebold; time; philosophy; phenomenology
The received view in mainstream philosophy is that violence is an ‘act’, to be defined in terms of ‘force’ and ‘intentionality’. This approach regrettably and inexcusably tends to prioritise the agent performing the act of violence in question. This paper argues that we should resist this tendency, in order to prioritise the victim or survivor of violence, and her personal experience, not that of the perpetrator. Starting from an analysis of the devastating impact of violence that characterises the experience of sexual violation and its aftermath, based on the memoirs of Susan Brison (philosopher) and Alice Sebold (novelist), we will then proceed to argue that violence should not be thought of merely in terms of an ‘act’, but also as an ‘experience’, the difference being that an act is temporally determinate while an experience is temporally indeterminate. With the help of a phenomenological approach, we will argue that violence has time-indeterminate intended and unintended consequences; these are the ripples of violence. Finally, some of the moral, legal and political implications of acknowledging the temporal indeterminacy of violence will be highlighted.
Grant Details