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Based on the experiences of three Iranian women former political prisoners, this chapter contemplates why subjection to sexual violence is felt or imagined to shatter the soul more drastically and enduringly than other forms of violence. Refusing to succumb to two common explanations—the culturalist approach and the universalistic ahistorical view of sexual violence—this chapter seeks to open a more nuanced discussion of power, sexuality, sexual violence, and political subjectivity. It reflects on the way political subjectivity has been linked to gender and sexuality and ponders the role of the autonomous subject in shaping these attitudes. Using a narrative ethnography, this chapter seeks to allow the stories of women political prisoners to be heard in context of a complex constellation of social and political conditions, with their memories and embodied histories intermingled in their way of living in the modern world.

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