Racism and Contemporary Literature on Rape, No. 1, 1976
ANGELA Y. DAVIS
Following is a critical review of Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape by Susan Brownmiller, based on two radio programs broadcast by KPFA, Berkeley, California, on January 15, 1976, and January 22, 1976.
Sexual assaults against women occur far more frequently than anyone would dare to imagine. Rape, in fact, is one of the most common crimes committed in the United States today. Yet, until very recently rape was seen as that unspeakable act -- perpetrated by psychopathswhich sometimes brutally erupted in the headlines of local dailies, or when relatives or friends were involved, it was shrouded in secrecy and talked about in whispers.
A tightly woven web of myths blurred the real and traumatic penetration of sexual violence into the lives of untold numbers of women. One thread of the web assumed the rapist to be a psychologically diseased creature, if not an oversexed, bestial Black man.