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On silence and speaking out about sexual violence: An exploration through poetry

Writing Differently

ISBN: 978-1-83867-338-3, eISBN: 978-1-83867-337-6

Publication date: 24 April 2020


This chapter offers five poems that aim to provide an affective and embodied engagement with the question why women stay silent after experiencing sexual violence. It aims to trouble the idea that coming forward as a victim or survivor is a one-time action or ‘event’. Instead it seeks to make felt how both staying silent and speaking out need continuous negotiation and effort. The poems provide a personal account of the difficulties inherent in navigating systemic power structures such as misogyny and rape culture that produce victims as shameful, guilty and broken. The writing speaks to both ongoing discussions in organisation studies regarding #MeToo (e.g. Ozkazanc Pan, 2018; Pullen & Vacchani, 2019) and efforts that aim to resist norms of academic writing, grouped under the heading ‘writing differently’ (e.g. Fotaki, Metcalfe, & Harding, 2014; Gilmore, Harding, Helin, & Pullen 2019; Grey & Sinclair 2006; Meier & Wegener 2017; Phillips, Pullen, & Rhodes 2014). More specifically, it uses poetic inquiry (cf. Prendergast, Leggo, & Sameshima 2009; van Amsterdam & van Eck, 2019) as the starting point of a feminist ethic of care in order to capture affect, embodiment and tacit knowledge, provide resonance and make an impact on the reader that goes beyond rational understanding.



van Amsterdam, N. (2020), "On silence and speaking out about sexual violence: An exploration through poetry", Pullen, A., Helin, J. and Harding, N. (Ed.) Writing Differently (Dialogues in Critical Management Studies, Vol. 4), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 185-192.



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