Silenced No More: Transformation of Female Sexual Violation into Sacred Stories and Sacred Silence
Chaya M. Abrams, Ph.D., LPC LAC

Holocaust literature has historically focused on generalized genocide of Jews throughout several decades, with scarce mention of Jewish sexuality, reproductive functioning, or sexual trauma (Chalmers, 2015). This paper addresses silenced female sexual violations that occurred within ghettos and concentration camps during the Holocaust. A background of Jewish sexuality in Germany prior to World War II is examined, as well as the impact of the Rassenschande Laws on violations of the female body and intelligence. The terms traumatic silence and sacred silence are presented and defined by the author and discussed in context of current scholarly ways of understanding silence in posttraumatic response. Observations of silenced sexual violations are discussed through examples from the author‘s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and conceptualized as sacred stories of Holocaust women. To support this stance, sacred stories of several minority female writers are portrayed in this paper as examples of strength during times of oppression. Through externalization of silenced sacred stories, transformation of female sexual violations from traumatic silence to whole-hearted sacred silence is possible. Implications for re-authorship of traumatic stories into sacred stories are introduced through contemporary western attitudes toward the sexuality and reproductive rights of women.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v7n2p2