LFC Seminar - Speaking Out Against Rape: Before (and after) #MeToo

LFC Seminar - Speaking Out Against Rape: Before (and after) #MeToo

Principal speaker

Dr Tanya Serisier

*Trigger Warning*

This event contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors. Support is available on campus or through 1800RESPECT


Recent years have seen the growth of online feminist activism against sexual violence, particularly on social media platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr. This activism has been hailed as part of a "new wave' of feminist activism, challenging victim-blaming cultures and confronting the failures of the criminal justice system to respond adequately to sexual violence. In the most positive depictions of the new wave of feminism, social media allows survivors and feminists to share their stories, create counter-publics and bypass or even improve legal failings in relation to sexual violence.

However, closer examination of online spaces as an alternative platform for justice requires a more complex view. Speaking out online needs to be placed within a history of media and cultural activism around sexual violence for both the potential and limitations of this form of activism to become clearer. This paper explores some of that context, articulating the importance of seeing this activism within a 50 year history of feminist and survivor speech around experiences of violence, that has, in some ways been enormously successful, but has also revealed itself to have important limitations. In this paper I argue that a broader historical perspective on speaking out as feminist activism helps to open up critical questions about the past and present, but also, perhaps most importantly, about the future of feminist activism against sexual violence.

About the speaker

Dr Tanya Serisier is a Lecturer in Criminology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research focuses on the cultural politics of sexuality and of sexual violence, and she has published widely on these areas. Her forthcoming book, Speaking Out: Rape, Feminism and the Politics of Narrative is a critical investigation of speaking out about sexual violence as a core strategy of feminist politics, and it attempts to analyse both its strengths and limitations. She is beginning a new research project on the politics of sexual respectability and deviance under neoliberalism.

About this seminar

Tanya will present her Law Futures Centre Seminar at the Griffith Law School (N61) Nathan campus with a videolink to the Griffith Law School (G36) Gold Coast campus. When registering for this seminar, please indicate in your email which campus you will attend.

Event categories

RSVP on or before Tuesday 31 July 2018 , by email lawfutures@griffith.edu.au

Event contact details

Session 1

Session 2