This article utilizes feminist literature on victimhood and rape mythology to suggest a new theoretical lens by which to view victims of sexual violence and the politics of state recognition through apology. The campaigns of two South Korean victim groups, the comfort women and camptown women, are examined to demonstrate that the process in which they must battle to obtain state redress through apology implies the existence of a discursive, gender-normative regime of victimhood. In this context, this article suggests that although the delivery of an apology for sexual violence might provide some form of gendered justice, this process may produce additional effects which work to discipline the related identities of gender and victimhood, and which have forced the comfort women and camptown women to compete for recognition by the South Korean state. The results of this struggle are ambivalent when it comes to victim agency and, in the cases examined in this article, the politics of apology has resulted in a somewhat impoverished form of redress for sexual violence.
Dolan, E. (2020). Sexual violence, political apology and competing victimhoods. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 22(2), 187–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616742.2019.1577152
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