Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country

By Esther Cooper Jackson; Constance Pohl | Go to book overview

women domestic workers who have been raped by the "man of the house."

While she does admit that these are the cases that never make it to court, she quite conveniently does not pursue this side of the rape question. Thus she does not concretely discuss the resulting distortion of official rape statistics. . . .

Since her battle is one to be fought by women alone against the men who are the enemy -- it is quite consistent that she would demand harsher prison terms for convicted rapists. It is equally consistent that she would demand the total integration of police forces and armed forces. (She wants these bodies to be composed of fifty percent women!!) Does she, however, not realize that as long as the judicial system remains as much of an instrument of racism and class subjugation as it is today, the punishments, regardless of guilt or innocence, will disproportionately fall on Blacks and other nationally oppressed groups as well as poor and working-class white people?

Since 1930, as Brownmiller knows, eighty-nine percent of all executions for rape have been performed on Black men. Black men in the South were eighteen times more likely to be executed on a conviction of raping a white woman than for raping a Black woman. Outside the South, rape convictions are also disproportionately heaped on Black and working-class men. Yet Diana Russell can make the astounding claim that courts outside the South are actually more lenient to Black men charged with rape because they fear being accused of racism. . . .


References

Brownmiller Susan, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.

Russell Diana, The Politics of Rape, The Victim's Perspective. New York: Stein and Day, 1975.

"The Racist Use of Rape and the Rape Charge: A Statement to the Women's Movement from a Group of Socialist Women". Socialist Women's Caucus of Louisville, P.O. Box 11416, Louisville, Kentucky 40211.

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