How can historians meaningfully and ethically research past experiences of sexual violence? What tools do they need to uncover a subject so intensely emotive and yet often accessible only through sources employing the dry legal or clinical language of institutions and bureaucracies? Ruth Beecher and Rhian Keyse are social and cultural historians exploring responses to child sexual abuse and sexual violence in the UK and (post)colonial Anglophone Africa. In this conversation they discuss the often surprising dynamics of the histories they’ve uncovered – and the strategies and supports they’ve developed for navigating their own emotions in conducting such emotionally challenging research.

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