The Conundrum of Agency in Sexual Violence

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

This is a revised version of an article that appeared in Seminar January 2014.

The past year is bookended by two extraordinary moments, both of them inspired by the courage and determination of young women who refused to take sexual violence as routine.

December 2012 – a young paramedic fought till her last breath for justice.

November 2013 – a law intern exposed the sexual assault she faced from a retired Judge and a Tehelka journalist taught Tarun Tejpal a long deferred lesson – No Means No.

The massive mobilization of public opinion around these incidents has reopened the question of ‘agency’ in familiar and unfamiliar ways.

Feminists have long asserted women’s agency in contexts of sexual violence by attempting to desexualize rape – in law and in everyday life. Taken out of patriarchal discourses of honour, rape is merely an act of violence that violates bodily integrity. This delicate…

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We are not saying that every single politician is corrupt and greedy. There are many good intentioned people in politics today who want to work honestly for the people of Pakistan. But the current system of polity does not allow honest politicians to function. We are also not claiming that every single person who joins our party will be hundred percent honest. We are saying that it is the system that has become very corrupt and needs to be changed immediately. Our aim in entering politics is not to come to power; we have entered politics to change the current corrupt and self-serving system of politics forever. So that no matter who comes to power in the future, the system is strong enough to withstand corruption at any level of governance.
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