Bureaucracy, Emotion and Sexual Violence: A Podcast from Dr Marybeth Hamilton with Dr Rhian Keyse and Dr Ruth Beecher
This article was originally published on History Workshop Online.
This is a contribution for the (Un)Silenced: Institutional Sexual Violence feature, which explores how sexual violence relates to various societal institutions. The series provides a historical understanding of the ways in which sexual violence is produced through different institutional cultures of harm.
How can historians meaningfully and ethically research past experiences of sexual violence? What tools do they need to uncover a subject so intensely emotive and yet often accessible only through sources employing the dry legal or clinical language of institutions and bureaucracies? Ruth Beecher and Rhian Keyse are social and cultural historians exploring responses to child sexual abuse and sexual violence in the UK and (post)colonial Anglophone Africa. In this conversation they discuss the often surprising dynamics of the histories they’ve uncovered – and the strategies and supports they’ve developed for navigating their own emotions in conducting such emotionally challenging research.