Moments of erasure of the testimonies of sexual violence against Dalit women
in Intimacy and injury
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Several critiques have pointed out that #MeToo in India often erased the experiences of Dalit women, even as anti-caste feminists made questions of caste privilege core to these new technologies of resisting sexual harassment. In underscoring the routine nature of sexual violence against Dalit women, this chapter shows how their testimonies were not always legible under #MeToo, even in the hands of anti-caste feminists. It builds on the legal battle of one victim of caste-based sexual violence, Satyabhama, to throw light on such endemic violence in India, generally understood as the violence committed by upper-caste men against lower-caste women, politically and socially identified as Dalit women. Even when women like Satyabhama moved court and publics to name the injustice metered onto them, their voice – as with Dalit women’s testimonies of sexual violence more generally – tend to be sidelined, erased or concealed, in both intentional and unintentional ways. The chapter asks whether the urban MeToo movement was able to do a better job of foregrounding the voices and claims of marginalised women like Satyabhama. The chapter concludes that even as India’s #MeToo movement was initiated by the Dalit-Bahujan feminists, it ultimately offered limited prospects and space for engaging the phenomenon of caste-based sexual violence perpetrated against women from the marginalised sections of society.

Intimacy and injury

In the wake of #MeToo in India and South Africa

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