An exploration of black women students’ sexual experiences

Chengeta, Gorata
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In this research report, I critique the use of consent as a standard for differentiating between harmful/unacceptable and harmless/acceptable sexual experiences. Central to my investigation are the relationship between consent and power. Using material from interviews I conducted with eight Black women situated at Wits University, I analyze three main issues. I first analyze the political implications of emotion, arguing for a recognition of the role emotion plays in regards to sexual consenting practice. I then discuss the connection between bodies and language in discourses on sex, gender, sexuality and violence. I explore this through two frames: first, how Black women’s bodies are read through a sexualizing lens and then, through an exploration of the possibilities of communicating consent through non-verbal language. Thirdly, I look at the complexity of meaning making practices, pertaining to experiences of unwanted sex. I make the argument that consent models of understanding sexual violence are inadequate, due to the way they conflate desire and consent, as well as consent and harmlessness. I also make an argument for prioritizing women’s understandings of their sexual experiences, over legal understandings of these experiences
A research report submitted in fulfilment of the partial requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. Department of Political Studies, 2018
Chengeta, Gorata (2018) An exploration of black women university students' sexual experiences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,