Following calls to center nation, we analyze sexual violence discourse in the US Peace Corps. The texts we consider deploy three typical dichotomies—public/private, self/other, and agent/victim—that, in this case, reveal inconsistencies at the intersections of race and gender. We argue that these inconsistencies are evidence of lability, counterintuitive discursive shifts necessary to maintain white heteromasculine dominance. Instead of blaming individual victims of rape and assault, the masculinization of victimhood shifts culpability to the Peace Corps. This organizational blame maintains the moral position of the US and legitimates imperialism. By marking these instabilities, we trace the solidity and vulnerability of sexual violence discourse as it organizes global power.
- Peace corps
- Sexual violence