If war is defined by the scale and intensity of political violence, then perhaps there is a hidden war being waged against women in our society.

Jacklyn Cock, quoted in Mark Gevisser, ‘The war against women’s bodies,’ Weekly Mail, 12 September 1991.

South Africa’s Hidden War is a research project exploring the longer histories of sexual violence in South Africa from the 1950s to 2000s, examining conceptualisations of, debates about, and responses to rape and other forms of violence over the apartheid and post-apartheid periods. It aims to develop the first extensive history of sexual violence in twentieth century South Africa and reframe current discussions of sexual violence with a greater understanding of this history and greater emphasis on women’s own voices and narratives.

The project is funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and runs from 2020-2024 with the opportunity to extend until 2027.