This article seeks to reflect on the issue of sexual violence in the context of the twenty year anniversary of democracy in South Africa bringing together views from the authors’ respective disciplines of Gender and the Bible on the one hand and Political Science on the other. We will employ the Old Testament Book of Esther, which offers a remarkable glimpse into the way a patriarchal society is responsible for multiple levels of victimization, in order to take a closer look at our own country’s serious problem of sexual violence. With this collaborative engagement the authors contribute to the conversation on understanding and resisting the scourge of sexual violence in South Africa that has rendered a large proportion of its citizens voiceless.
In this article, I am contributing to the ongoing conversation on a feminist public theology. Drawing on examples of feminist public theologians in my own context in (South) Africa, I propose that a feminist public theology ought to deal honestly and constructively with the reality of the deep wounds and the scars caused by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia, which, if left unattended, may fester and return with a vengeance. It is also imperative that a feminist public theology continues to imagine the world to be otherwise, thus helping not only to name the injustice of the past, but also to be able to see beyond the violence to help foster values such as compassion, justice, resistance and resilience. Drawing on examples from the book of Jeremiah, I will illustrate something of my own vocation as a feminist public theologian in the context of South Africa today.