Gender and Language, Vol 9, No 2 (2015)

Sexual violence and the creation of an empowered female voice

Cala Ann Zubair
Issued Date: 5 Aug 2015


This paper describes how slang serves as a source of empowerment for a marginalised social group, helping speakers create an inhabitable voice that contests community norms. Within the insular youth community known as the Sinhalese Raggers, females differentiate the terms they use to describe sexual assault from terms used by males. In doing so, they construct a voice in opposition to a male subject they hold responsible for sexual assault. The study of sexual assault slang contributes to recent register studies by exploring register at the community level, providing ethnographic evidence of the social motivations behind non-uniform language use. More broadly, this work documents negotiations between individuals and group collectives – how dominated speakers (female Raggers) exhibit agency through language.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v9i2.17909


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