“Fighting Sexism with Racism:” Anti-Immigration, Secularism, and the Politics of Shame in French Banlieues
Throughout this paper, I analyze the case of gang rapes in French banlieues. I explore the reactions women have towards sexual violence, such as the shame rape survivors experience in their communities when speaking out. I also examine Samira Bellil’s memoir about being gang raped to further understand the implications and trauma rape survivors face, in particular those living in French banlieues. I analyze the ways in which the French Republic highlights sexual violence in banlieues and associates men of Maghreb and Muslim background as the main perpetrators of gang rapes. Even though the French state addresses sexual violence, highlighting and associating rape with men of North African countries creates a double bind for women living in banlieues. Survivors want to speak about their suffering, but at the same time they do not want to further stigmatize the communities they come from. As a result, the community demonizes and adds pressure to women to stay silent.
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