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What Would MacGyver Do?: The Meaning(s) of Resistance and Survival

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2005 Pages: 531-559
Jan Jordan
Date Published
April 2005
29 pages
This article examines material from women’s own accounts of rape experiences that challenge formulations of resistance and survival.
Accounts of women’s survival following a rape attack have tended to focus on the recovery process in the aftermath of rape, rather than the strategies used to survive when the attacker was still present. This article presents resistance and survival stories of 14 out of 27 women who were attacked by New Zealand serial rapist, Malcolm Rewa, and highlights the limitations of the terms resistance and survival in relation to women’s responses to rape attacks. The women’s accounts suggest a need to question whether the notions of women as passive victims, lacking agency are adequate to reflect the complexity and diversity of women’s responses to rape attacks. Our understanding of resistance strategies is challenged, suggesting that these should not be limited to physical ploys and techniques. Acknowledging individual women’s stories of resistance and survival should denote an affirming of the diversity of ways in which individual women respond to and survive the gendered, political, and violating crime of rape. References