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Summary Feminist theoretical works on rape and sexual violence focus on several key questions: 1) What defines rape and sexual violence? 2) What are the meanings of rape and sexual violence?  How are those meanings influenced by social, historical, and political contexts? 3) How do rape and sexual violence intersect with and perpetuate various systems of inequality, including those centered on race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and others? 4) How do anti-rape efforts undermine, or, perhaps, perpetuate elements of a rape culture?
Key works Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will (1975) offered an early version of the feminist argument that rape is primarily about power rather than sex.  Catharine MacKinnon countered this theory in her work Toward a Feminist Theory of State, where she argued that rape is the logical extension of a phallocentric, patriarchal system of sexual inequality.  Contemporary works include Susan Brison's Aftermath (the first feminist philosophical work that integrated first-person narrative of a sexual assault), Ann Cahill's Rethinking Rape (which argues against both Brownmiller's and MacKinnon's models), Louise du Toit's A Philosophical Investigation of Rape (which frames sexual violence as an assault on feminine subjectivity), and Debra Bergoffen's Contesting the Politics of Genocidal Rape (which analyzes decisions in international law that established rape as a violation of human dignity).  
Introductions See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on "Feminist Perspectives on Rape" (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-rape/) for an excellent introduction to the topic.
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  1. Andrew Aberdein (1998). Persuasive Definition. In H. V. Hansen, C. W. Tindale & A. V. Colman (eds.), Argumentation and Rhetoric. Vale.
    Charles Stevenson introduced the term 'persuasive definition’ to describe a suspect form of moral argument 'which gives a new conceptual meaning to a familiar word without substantially changing its emotive meaning’. However, as Stevenson acknowledges, such a move can be employed legitimately. If persuasive definition is to be a useful notion, we shall need a criterion for identifying specifically illegitimate usage. I criticize a recent proposed criterion from Keith Burgess-Jackson and offer an alternative.
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  2. Carol J. Adams (1994). Bringing Peace Home: A Feminist Philosophical Perspective on the Abuse of Women, Children, and Pet Animals. Hypatia 9 (2):63 - 84.
    In this essay, I connect the sexual victimization of women, children, and pet animals with the violence manifest in a patriarchal culture. After discussing these connections, I demonstrate the importance of taking seriously these connections because of their implications for conceptual analysis, epistemology, and political, environmental, and applied philosophy. My goal is to broaden our understanding of issues relevant to creating peace and to provide some suggestions about what must be included in any adequate feminist peace politics.
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  3. Margaret M. Aiken & P. M. Speck (1991). Confidentiality in Cases of Rape: A Concept Reconsidered. Journal of Clinical Ethics 2 (1):63.
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  4. Linda Martin Alcoff (2010). Rorty's Anti-Representationalism in the Context of Sexual Violence. In Marianne Janack (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Richard Rorty. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  5. Linda Martín Alcoff (2009). Discourses of Sexual Violence in a Global Framework. Philosophical Topics 37 (2):123-139.
    In this paper I make a preliminary analysis of Western (or global North) discourses on sexual violence, focusing on the important concepts of “consent” and “victim.” The concept of “consent” is widely used to determine whether sexual violence has occurred, and it is the focal point of debates over the legitimacy of statutory offenses and over the way we characterize sex work done under conditions involving economic desperation. The concept of “victim” is shunned by many feminists and nonfeminists alike for (...)
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  6. Jami L. Anderson, Comprehending the Distinctively Sexual Nature of the Conduct. Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.
    Since the 1970s, sexual assault laws have evolved to include prohibitions of sexual acts with cognitively impaired individuals. The argument justifying this prohibition is typically as follows: A sex act that is forced (without the legally valid consent of) someone is sexual assault. Cognitively impaired individuals, because they lack certain intellectual abilities, cannot give legally valid consent. Therefore, cognitively impaired individuals cannot consent to sex. Therefore, sex acts with cognitively impaired individuals is sexual assault. The prohibition of sex with such (...)
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  7. Jami L. Anderson (ed.) (2003). Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Philosophical Issues of Identity and Justice. Prentice Hall.
    This anthology of contemporary articles (and court cases provides a philosophical analysis of race, sex and gender concepts and issues. Divided into three relatively independent yet thematically linked sections, the anthology first addresses identity issues, then injustices and inequalities, and then specific social and legal issues relevant to race, sex and gender. By exposing readers to both theoretical foundations, opposing views, and "real life" applications, the anthology prepares them to make critically reasoned decisions concerning today's race, gender and sex social (...)
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  8. Scott A. Anderson (2005). Sex Under Pressure: Jerks, Boorish Behavior, and Gender Hierarchy. [REVIEW] Res Publica 11 (4):349-369.
    Pressuring someone into having sex would seem to differ in significant ways from pressuring someone into investing in one’s business or buying an expensive bauble. In affirming this claim, I take issue with a recent essay by Sarah Conly (‘Seduction, Rape, and Coercion’, Ethics, October 2004), who thinks that pressuring into sex can be helpfully evaluated by analogy to these other instances of using pressure. Drawing upon work by Alan Wertheimer, the leading theorist of coercion, she argues that so long (...)
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  9. D. Archard (forthcoming). Keith Burgess-Jackson, Rape: A Philosophical Investigation. Radical Philosophy.
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  10. D. Archard (forthcoming). Sue Lees, Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial. Radical Philosophy.
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  11. David Archard (2007). Is It Rape? On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women's Consent Seriously - by Joan McGregor, Making Sense of Sexual Consent - by Mark Cowling & Paul Reynolds, the Logic of Consent, the Diversity and Deceptiveness of Consent as a Defence to Criminal Conduct - by Peter Westen, and Consent to Sexual Relations - by Lan Wertheimer. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):209–221.
  12. David Archard (2007). The Wrong of Rape. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):374–393.
    If rape is evaluated as a serious wrong, can it also be defined as non-consensual sex (NCS)? Many do not see all instances of NCS as seriously wrongful. I argue that rape is both properly defined as NCS and properly evaluated as a serious wrong. First, I distinguish the hurtfulness of rape from its wrongfulness; secondly, I classify its harms and characterize its essential wrongfulness; thirdly, I criticize a view of rape as merely ‘sex minus consent’; fourthly, I criticize mistaken (...)
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  13. Nafsika Athanassoulis (2002). The Role of Consent in Sado-Masochistic Practices. Res Publica 8 (2):141-155.
    In 1993 the Law Lords upheld the original conviction of five men under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act for participating in sado-masochistic practices. Although the five men were fully consenting adults, the Law Lords held that consent did not constitute a defence to acts of violence within a sado-masochistic context. This paper examines the judgements in this case and argues that sado-masochistic practices are no different from the known exceptions cited by the court to the idea that consent (...)
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  14. H. E. Baber (1987). How Bad Is Rape? Hypatia 2 (2):125 - 138.
    I argue that to be compelled to do routine work is to be gravely harmed. Indeed, that pink-collar work is a more serious harm to women (...)than rape. My purpose is to urge politically active feminists and feminist organizations to arrange their priorities accordingly and devote most of their resources to working for the elimination of sex segregation in employment. (shrink)
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  15. Brenda M. Baker (2006). Joan McGregor, Is It Rape? On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women's Consent Seriously Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 26 (1):47-49.
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  16. Kelly H. Ball (2013). &Quot;more or Less Raped&Quot;: Foucault, Causality, and Feminist Critiques of Sexual Violence. Philosophia 3 (1):14.
  17. David Benatar (forthcoming). Two Views of Sexual Ethics: Promiscuity Pedophilia, and Rape. Public Affairs Quarterly.
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  18. Vivian Berger (1988). Review Essay/Not so Simple Rape. Criminal Justice Ethics 7 (1):69-81.
    Susan Estrich, Real Rape Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1987, 160 pp.
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  19. Debra Bergoffen (2011). Contesting the Politics of Genocidal Rape: Affirming the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body. Routledge.
    -/- Rape, traditionally a spoil of war, became a weapon of war in the ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia. The ICTY Kunarac court responded by transforming wartime rape from an ignored crime into a crime against humanity. In its judgment, the court argued that the rapists violated the Muslim women’s right to sexual self-determination. Announcing this right to sexual integrity, the court transformed women’s vulnerability from an invitation to abuse into a mark of human dignity. This close reading of the (...)
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  20. Debra Bergoffen (2011). Exploiting the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body: Rape as a Weapon of War. Philosophical Papers 38 (3):307-325.
    When the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicted the Bosnian Serb soldiers who used rape as a weapon of war of violating the human right to sexual self determination and of crimes against humanity, it transformed vulnerability from a mark of feminine weakness to a shared human condition. The court's judgment directs us to note the ways in which the exploitation of our bodied vulnerability is an assault on our dignity. It alerts us to the ways in which (...)
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  21. Debra Bergoffen (2003). Toward a Politics of the Vulnerable Body. Hypatia 18 (1):116-134.
    On February 22, 2001, three Bosnian Serb soldiers were found guilty of crimes against humanity. Their offense? Rape. This is the first time that rape has been prosecuted and condemned as a crime against humanity. Appealing to Jacques Derrida's democracy of the perhaps and Judith Butler's politics of performative contradiction, I see this judgment inaugurating a politics of the vulnerable body which challenges current understandings of evil, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
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  22. Debra B. Bergoffen (2003). February 22, 2001: Toward a Politics of the Vulnerable Body. Hypatia 18 (1):116-134.
    : On February 22, 2001, three Bosnian Serb soldiers were found guilty of crimes against humanity. Their offense? Rape. This is the first time that rape has been prosecuted and condemned as a crime against humanity. Appealing to Jacques Derrida's democracy of the perhaps and Judith Butler's politics of performative contradiction, I see this judgment inaugurating a politics of the vulnerable body which challenges current understandings of evil, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
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  23. Don Berkich (2011). A Heinous Act. Philosophical Papers 38 (3):381-399.
    Intuitively, rape is seriously morally wrong in a way simple assault is not. Yet philosophical disputes about the features of rape that make it the heinous act it is invite a general account of the difference between (mere) wrong-making characteristics and heinous-making characteristics. In this paper I propose just such an account and use it to refute some accounts of the wrongness of rape and refine others. Given these analyses, I close by developing and defending an account of a particularly (...)
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  24. John H. Bogart (1996). Commodification and Phenomenology: Evading Consent in Theory Regarding Rape. Legal Theory 2 (3):253-264.
    In a recent essay, Donald Dripps advanced what he calls a of rape, offered as an alternative to understanding rape in terms of lack of consent. Under the rape is understood as the expropriation of sexual services, i.e., obtaining sex through means. One aim of Dripps's effort was to show the inadequacy of consent approaches to understanding rape. Robin West, while accepting Dripps's critique of consent theories, criticizes Dripps's commodification approach. In its place, West suggests a more phenomenological approach.
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  25. John H. Bogart (1991). On the Nature of Rape. Public Affairs Quarterly 5 (2):117-136.
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  26. Elsje Bonthuys (2008). Putting Gender Into the Definition of Rape or Taking It Out? Feminist Legal Studies 16 (2):249-260.
    The main issue in the Masiya judgment was whether the current South African definition of rape—namely non-consensual penetration of a vagina by a penis—should be extended to include anal penetration of both female and male victims. The majority of the Constitutional Court held that anal penetration of female victims should constitute rape, but declined to offer similar protection to male victims. This note argues that this judgment reverts to and reinforces patriarchal stereotypes and dichotomies and that it misunderstands, in a (...)
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  27. J. Bourke (2012). Sexual Violence, Bodily Pain, and Trauma: A History. Theory, Culture and Society 29 (3):25-51.
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  28. Susan Brison (2002). Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self. Princeton University Press.
    Violence and the Remaking of a Self Susan J. Brison. Political activism (including lobbying for new legislation, speaking out, educating others, helping survivors) can also help to undo the double bind of self-blame versus helplessness.
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  29. Susan T. Brison (1993). Surviving Sexual Violence: A Philosophical Perspective. Journal of Social Philosophy 24 (1):5-22.
  30. Susan Brownmiller & Barbara Mehrhof (1992). A Feminist Response to Rape as an Adaptation in Men. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (2):381-382.
  31. Diken Bülent & Laustsen Carsten Bagge (2005). Becoming Abject: Rape as a Weapon of War. Body and Society 11 (1).
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  32. Keith Burgess-Jackson (2000). A Crime Against Women: Calhoun on the Wrongness of Rape. Journal of Social Philosophy 31 (3):286–293.
  33. Keith Burgess-Jackson (ed.) (1999). A Most Detestable Crime: New Philosophical Essays on Rape. Oxford University Press.
    This collection of original essays by leading philosophers probes the philosophical aspects of rape in all of its manifestations: act, crime, practice, and institution. Among the issues examined are the nature of rape; the wrongfulness and harmfulness of rape; the relation of rape to racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression; and the legitimacy of various rape-law doctrines. Each contributor advances a novel argument and seeks to disentangle the conceptual, evaluative, and empirical issues that arise in connection with the (...)
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  34. Keith Burgess-Jackson (1998). Wife Rape. Public Affairs Quarterly 12 (1):1-22.
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  35. Keith Burgess-Jackson (1995). Rape and Persuasive Definition. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):415 - 454.
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  36. Doris Buss (2002). Prosecuting Mass Rape: Prosecutor V. Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic. [REVIEW] Feminist Legal Studies 10 (1):91-99.
    The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convictedthree men for their role in the mass rape ofMuslim women during the conflict inBosnia-Hercegovina. That decision is a landmarkin many respects, but primarily for itsdetermination that the rape of Muslim womenamounted to a crime against humanity. Thiscomment provides an overview of the decision,exploring the significance of recognising rapeas a crime against humanity within the contextof other developments in the area of wartimerape and sexual violence. The comment alsoprovides a brief review of the decision inlight (...)
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  37. Doris E. Buss (2009). Rethinking 'Rape as a Weapon of War'. Feminist Legal Studies 17 (2):145-163.
    One of the most significant shifts in current thinking on war and gender is the recognition that rape in wartime is not a simple by-product of war, but often a planned and targeted policy. For many feminists ‘rape as a weapon of war’ provides a way to articulate the systematic, pervasive, and orchestrated nature of wartime sexual violence that marks it as integral rather than incidental to war. This recognition of rape as a weapon of war has taken on legal (...)
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  38. Doris E. Buss (1998). Women at the Borders: Rape and Nationalism in International Law. Feminist Legal Studies 6:171-203.
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  39. Ann J. Cahill (2014). Recognition, Desire, and Unjust Sex. Hypatia 29 (2):303-319.
    In this article I will revisit the question of what I term the continuum of heteronormative sexual interactions, that is, the idea that purportedly ethically acceptable heterosexual interactions are conceptually, ethically, and politically associated with instances of sexual violence. Spurred by recent work by psychologist Nicola , I conclude that some of my earlier critiques of Catharine MacKinnon's theoretical linkages between sexual violence and normative heterosex are wanting. In addition, neither MacKinnon's theory nor my critique of it seem up to (...)
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  40. Ann J. Cahill (2011). In Defense of Self-Defense. Philosophical Papers 38 (3):363-380.
    Some feminist theorists have argued that emphasizing women's self-defense mistakenly emphasizes women's behavior and choices rather than male aggression as a cause of sexual violence. I argue here that such critiques of self-defense are misguided, and do not sufficiently take into account the ways in which feminist self-defense courses can constitute embodied transformations of the meanings of femininity and rape. While certainly not sufficient to counter a rape culture by themselves, self-defense courses should remain a crucial element in feminist anti-rape (...)
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  41. Ann J. Cahill (2011). Overcoming Objectification. Routledge.
    Objectification is a foundational concept in feminist theory, used to analyze such disparate social phenomena as sex work, representation of women's bodies, and sexual harassment. However, there has been an increasing trend among scholars of rejecting and re-evaluating the philosophical assumptions which underpin it. In this work, Cahill suggests an abandonment of the notion of objectification, on the basis of its dependence on a Kantian ideal of personhood. Such an ideal fails to recognize sufficiently the role the body plays in (...)
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  42. Ann J. Cahill (2001). Rethinking Rape. Cornell University Press.
    Rape, claims Ann J. Cahill, affects not only those women who are raped, but all women who experience their bodies as rapable and adjust their actions and self-images accordingly. Rethinking Rape counters legal and feminist definitions of rape as mere assault and decisively emphasizes the centrality of the body and sexuality in a crime which plays a crucial role in the continuing oppression of women.
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  43. Ann J. Cahill (2000). Foucault, Rape, and the Construction of the Feminine Body. Hypatia 15 (1):43-63.
    : In 1977, Michel Foucault suggested that legal approaches to rape define it as merely an act of violence, not of sexuality, and therefore not distinct from other types of assaults. I argue that rape can not be considered merely an act of violence because it is instrumental in the construction of the distinctly feminine body. Insofar as the threat of rape is ineluctably, although not determinately, associated with the development of feminine bodily comportment, rape itself holds a host of (...)
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  44. Todd Calder, Claudia Card, Ann Cudd, Eric Kraemer, Alice MacLachlan, Sarah Clark Miller, María Pía Lara, Robin May Schott, Laurence Thomas & Lynne Tirrell (2009). Evil, Political Violence, and Forgiveness: Essays in Honor of Claudia Card. Lexington Books.
    Rather than focusing on political and legal debates surrounding attempts to determine if and when genocidal rape has taken place in a particular setting, this essay turns instead to a crucial, yet neglected area of inquiry: the moral significance of genocidal rape, and more specifically, the nature of the harms that constitute the culpable wrongdoing that genocidal rape represents. In contrast to standard philosophical accounts, which tend to employ an individualistic framework, this essay offers a situated understanding of harm that (...)
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  45. Laurie Calhoun (1997). On Rape: A Crime Against Humanity. Journal of Social Philosophy 28 (1):101-109.
  46. Lisa Campo-Engelstein (2009). Cultural Memory, Empathy, and Rape. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 16 (1):25-42.
    Assuming a relational understanding of the self, I argue that empathy is necessary for individual and cultural recovery from rape. However, gender affects our ability to listen with empathy to rape survivors. For women, the existence of cultural memories discourages empathy either by engendering fear of their own future rape or by provoking sympathy rather than empathy. For men, the lack of cultural memories makes rape what Arendt calls an "unreality," thus diminishing the possibility for empathy. Although empathetic listeningpresents gender (...)
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  47. Claudia Card (2009). In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence. By Kristin Bumiller. Hypatia 24 (2):205-208.
  48. Claudia Card (2008). The Paradox of Genocidal Rape Aimed at Enforced Pregnancy. Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (S1):176-189.
  49. Claudia Card (2004). The Atrocity Paradigm Revisited. Hypatia 19 (4):212 - 222.
    This essay reflects on issues raised by commentators regarding my book, The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil (Oxford 2002). They are (1) Robin Schott's observation of the tension between my discussion of forgiveness and of castration fantasies; (2) Bat-Ami Bar On's questions regarding whether evil is ethical, political, or both; (3) Adam Morton's queries regarding the relative seriousness of evils and injustices; and (4) María Pía Lara's concerns regarding what is valuable in Kant's ethics.
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  50. Claudia Card (2002). The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil. Oxford University Press.
    What distinguishes evils from ordinary wrongs? Is hatred a necessarily evil? Are some evils unforgivable? Are there evils we should tolerate? What can make evils hard to recognize? Are evils inevitable? How can we best respond to and live with evils? Claudia Card offers a secular theory of evil that responds to these questions and more. Evils, according to her theory, have two fundamental components. One component is reasonably foreseeable intolerable harm -- harm that makes a life indecent and impossible (...)
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