Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Bringing the Inside Out: Rape and the Female Body in Postcolonial Political Landscapes

Sandra Minter.

Scholars have explored Jewish rabbinical texts to elucidate the concept of the female body as Œhouse‚ They suggest the term Œhouse‚ is used in these texts as a substitute for the female body or more specifically as a euphemism for female sexual organs. This terminology implied a duality where women's bodies were 'house' and a constructed domestic edifice; an object that occupied a particular interior space - and one whereby the male relationship to that body was created within that framework. As such, a woman's body was the subject of close regulation and control within particular spatial boundaries - to step outside those boundaries, risked sexual dishonour - to be ravished and raped.(1) A not dissimilar discourse can be applied to postcolonial territorial conflict, but one where the contemporary cultural script is now witness to the female body being forcibly exteriorised and used as a weapon of war by modern military strategists. By reinforcing the traditional concept of the female body as object, postcolonial military and militia use gender violence as a means of control on a nation ˆ an action central to contemporary military/nation state building - by decimating it‚s women, their families and communities. I will "tell" of these experiences through the voices of the women of Timor Lorosae (East Timor), - raped, abducted, forced into sexual enslavement, murdered and imprisoned during the 24 year Indonesian occupation of their country.


Sandra Minter  (Australia)
PhD Student
School of Fine Art
The University Of Newcastle

  • Female Body
  • Rape
  • Postcolonial Military and Militia
  • Rape as a Weapon

(Virtual Presentation, English)