"Rape trees"—trees and bushes in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands upon which hang bras and underwear—serve as a display of the sexual assault and labor exploitation to which marginalized migrant women are vulnerable. Women making the journey to and across the border contend with sexual violence, as well as the political and economic violences that both construct the economies of the border and compel migrant women to it. The continued performance and re-performance of rape trees attempt to reinstate the silencing of migrant women. They also shed light on the intricacies of power, citizenship, and subjectivity that migrant women confront at the border. While rape trees can be read as a form of performative hate speech, or a representation and re-enactment of violence against migrant women, they also evidence migrant women's survival and resistance.
Masri, Hana, "The Performative Speech and Silence of Rape Trees: Staging Sexual Violence Against Migrant Women in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands" (2013). International Studies Honors Projects. 19.
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