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Artists have a complex set of ethical and aesthetic considerations to keep in mind when they represent sexual violence and its aftermath. In the performing arts, depictions of rape on stage or screen are likely to elicit audience objections for graphic and/or triggering subject matter. Yet if the violence is stylised, portrayed through symbolism or narrated rather than shown — all common choices — there is a chance that the horror experienced by victims of sexual violence, and the courage shown by survivors, are not fully conveyed.

Visual artists face similar challenges, with the additional complication that they might seek to condense profound trauma (and even recovery) into a single image or set of images. Photographs, in particular, capture an instant in time; how, then, to communicate the unfolding journey of a rape survivor or a community of survivors? ..

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