Rethinking Rape

Rethinking Rape

Rethinking Rape

Rethinking Rape

Synopsis

Rape, claims Ann J. Cahill, affects not only those women who are raped, but all women who experience their bodies as rapable & adjust their actions & self-images accordingly.

Excerpt

The threat of rape in contemporary U.S. society constitutes a persistent and pervasive element in women's lives. So constant is this threat that it becomes assumed as a basic consideration in the daily choices women face. Although I myself have not been a victim of rape, the threat of rape has had a profound effect on the structure and quality of my life. The possibility of rape shapes the space I inhabit, designating certain hours and places as dangerous to me while to men they remain open prospects. It makes me think twice as I walk to my car late in the night; it discouraged me from joining a male college friend as he spent two weeks of spring break living on the streets with homeless people. Because of the possibility of sexual violence, I did not invite a new male friend, later one of my best friends, to my room for coffee when I had only had one or two conversations with him. I was rapable, and therefore I had to be careful.

Like many women who have not been raped, I have had various, more indirect encounters with sexual violence. I had a friend who charged her father with the rapes he inflicted on her since her childhood, and I witnessed parts of the three trials that she endured. A college acquaintance whose room was several doors down from mine was raped on an early spring morning as I slept in. While I was working on the final version of this manuscript, a woman dear to my heart was drugged and date-raped. All these experiences, but especially the last one, inspired in me emotions of despair, white-hot anger, and fear. Rape has never been far from my experiences.

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