Life and Dignity
Women’s Testimonies of Sexual Violence in Dimapur (Nagaland)
Many articles written after the 2015 Dimapur Lynching failed to read sexual violence and the culture of impunity against the backdrop of the history of militarisation. There is little doubt that the law-enforcing machinery failed at their job. However, judging Naga society as a xenophobic collective that reacted on mere suspicion of sexual violence, falls short of addressing the core issue of sexual violence and the culture of impunity. By placing the violent Dimapur Lynching as an opening vignette of this monograph on the experiences of survivors of sexual violence in Dimapur, I explore three important points. First, Kikon describes the everyday lives of survivors of sexual violence, and highlight how their experiences and trauma cut across ethnic community, class and religion in the city of Dimapur. Secondly, Kikon explains how testimonies of survivors and the existing culture of impunity need to be understood within a context of power relations, inequality, and poverty in a militarised society. Finally, recognising the ongoing advocacy work to rehabilitate survivors in Nagaland, this monograph traces the cultural debates on domestic and sexual violence and highlights how women’s rights and gender justice is often perceived as a threat to the existing social order in Naga society.
- While Kikon’s monograph shines light on sexual violence in both militarized and domestic spaces, her critical approach to acceptance and impunity of sexual violence in Dimapur opens up new research possibilities for studies of impunity and insecurity. More broadly, Kikon’s manuscript opens discussions of how cultures and certain parts of cultures, silence and censor certain crimes and acts, which ignores and conceals some types and spaces of insecurity while highlighting and magnifying others.
– Matthew Wilkinson, University of New South Wales, Australia
- Kikon, D. 2016. “Memories of Rape: The Banality of Violence and Impunity in Naga Society.” In Faultlines of History: The India Papers II, edited by U. Chakravarti, pp. 94–126. Delhi: Zubaan.
- Sinclair, A. (2021) ‘From Doing, to Writing, to Being, in Research‘, in E. Bell, S. Singh Sengupta (eds.) Empowering Methodologies in Organisational and Social Research, pp. 179-192. New Delhi: Routledge.
- Achumi, I. H. (2019) ‘Perceived Illegality of the Body: Reclaiming the Space in Nagaland’, Sociological Bulletin, 68(2), pp. 204–220. doi: 10.1177/0038022919848263.
- Karlsson, B. G. (2019) ‘Theory from the hills’, The Highlander: Journal of Highland Asia, 1(1), pp. 26–30.
- Karlsson, B. G. and Kikon, D. (2017) ‘Wayfinding: Indigenous Migrants in the Service Sector of Metropolitan India’, South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies. Taylor & Francis, 40(3), pp. 447–462. doi: 10.1080/00856401.2017.1319145.
- Kikon, D. (2017) ‘Jackfruit seeds from Jharkhand: Being adivasi in Assam’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, 51(3), pp. 313–337. doi: 10.1177/0069966717720575.
- Wilkinson, M. (2017) ‘Masculinity in the margins: men and identity in 21st century Nagaland’, The South Asianist, 5(1), pp. 140–161.