Rape and Society: Readings on the Problem of Sexual Assault

Rape and Society: Readings on the Problem of Sexual Assault

Rape and Society: Readings on the Problem of Sexual Assault

Rape and Society: Readings on the Problem of Sexual Assault

Synopsis

In the 1970s rape became the point of departure for an ongoing feminist examination of the subordination and sexual victimization of women. More recently, domestic violence, prostitution, sexual harassment, and pornography have come to the forefront of investigators' concerns. Rape and Society returns to the original focus on rape, while also illuminating the interconnections among the many forms of violence against women. The book provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject, drawing on writers and researchers from across a range of social and behavioral sciences and the humanities and representing the experiences of women of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. From the private torment of a child abused by her father to the horror of mass rape and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the authors analyze rape as a tool of humiliation, control, and terror. Rape and Society is an essential resource for academics and professionals and for anyone wanting to come to grips with the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence. Because the selections are moving as well as thought-provoking and varied in approach (theoretical, empirical, literary, and experiential), this interdisciplinary anthology is a superb text for undergraduate and graduate courses in women's studies, psychology, sociology, and criminology. It offers incisive analyses and carefully designed research to help us understand and explain rape while sensitizing us to the personal dimensions of sexual victimization and the emotional toll of living in a violent society. There are hopeful voices here too, helping readers envision a safer and more humane world, offering concrete suggestions for social change, and encouraging us all to gather the power and courage to take on the work that lies before us.

Excerpt

This is the case of Ms. X, a fifty-five-year-old white woman who teaches elementary school. Ms. X refused to give her name even to the interviewer. Her insistence on total anonymity highlights her continuing fears about being identified as a rape victim. Interestingly, however, Ms. X said that it was a great relief to have the opportunity to talk to someone about her experience and she hoped that other women might learn from her experience to protect themselves better.

... Ms. X was forty-eight when she was raped seven years ago. In all these years, she had previously told only one person about the experience.

MS. X: My boys were in the army, my girl was at college, and I lived alone. I live in the mountains at the end of a road which is completely blind. None of my neighbors can see up that road, so someone could park up there, and no one would ever know it. Apparently the man who raped me had been following me and watching my habits for a long time. He had probably tried the door on several occasions, but fortunately it was locked.

It was a Sunday morning around noon. I had gone up the road to get the newspaper and had come back into the house and was reading the paper. Then I went into the bathroom. I opened the door to the bathroom from my bedroom, and he was standing there with a gun. I just froze. I went into shock.

He kept me prisoner for two nights and two days. With a gun at my head, he made me call my school district on Monday to tell them I was sick. I tried to get out of the bathroom window once, but he caught me. When he slept he kept a tight grip on me so that if I just moved he would arouse and hit me for trying to escape. The first night I didn't sleep at all.

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