Document Type




Format of Original

26 p.

Publication Date



Bloomsbury Publishing (Berg)

Source Publication

Home Cultures

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

DOI: 10.2752/174063108X368337


"The body is the scene of the crime," is an oft-repeated phrase among nurses conducting sexual assault forensic examinations. This instruction reminds nurses that the object under scrutiny, the sexually violated body, is the location and source of establishing legal evidence. The nurses' interest lies in recovering evidentiary materials towards deriving a future juridical truth and providing a means for remedy or restitution. The constitution of truth obscures how the subject comes to be at home and dwell in a world where rape occurs. This article argues that regarding the body as a crime scene is more than a rhetorical or pedagogical move made by forensic practitioners. Rather, forensic examination is constituted through rigorous and meticulous techniques that scrutinize the body of the sexually violated subject in such a way that the harming and healing capacities of the domestic are disarticulated from one another. What is at stake is the state's reliance on a notion of the domestic as a sphere to which one might return and heal, even in instances where the domestic itself is the source or site of injury, such as incest and domestic violence.


Accepted version. Home Cultures, Vol. 5, No. 3 (November 2008): 301-325. DOI. © 2008 Berg. Used with permission.