About this topic
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. Persuasive Definition.Andrew Aberdein - 1997 - 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.
  2. Bringing Peace Home: A Feminist Philosophical Perspective on the Abuse of Women, Children, and Pet Animals.Carol J. Adams - 1994 - 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.
  3. Confidentiality in Cases of Rape: A Concept Reconsidered.Margaret M. Aiken & P. M. Speck - 1991 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 2 (1):63.
  4. Rorty's Anti-Representationalism in the Context of Sexual Violence.Linda Martin Alcoff - 2010 - In Marianne Janack (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Richard Rorty. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  5. Discourses of Sexual Violence in a Global Framework.Linda Martín Alcoff - 2009 - Philosophical Topics 37 (2):123-139.
    In this paper I make a preliminary analysis of Western 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 its apparent eclipse (...)
  6. French Feminisms: Gender and Violence in Contemporary Theory.Gill Allwood - 1998 - Ucl Press.
  7. Comprehending the Distinctively Sexual Nature of the Conduct.Jami L. Anderson - 2010 - 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 (...)
  8. Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Philosophical Issues of Identity and Justice.Jami L. Anderson (ed.) - 2003 - 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 (...)
  9. Sex Education and Rape.Michelle J. Anderson - 2010 - Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 17 (1).
    In the law of rape, consent has been and remains a gendered concept. Consent presumes female acquiescence to male sexual initiation. It presumes a man desires to penetrate a woman sexually. It presumes the woman willingly yields to the man's desires. It does not presume, and of course does not require, female sexual desire. Consent is what the law calls it when he advances and she does not put up a fight. I have argued elsewhere that the kind of thin (...)
  10. Sex Under Pressure: Jerks, Boorish Behavior, and Gender Hierarchy. [REVIEW]Scott A. Anderson - 2005 - 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 (...)
  11. Keith Burgess-Jackson, Rape: A Philosophical Investigation.D. Archard - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
  12. Sue Lees, Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial.D. Archard - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
  13. The Wrong of Rape.David Archard - 2007 - 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 (...)
  14. 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.David Archard - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):209–221.
  15. Negligent Rape.David Archard - 1999 - Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 1 (2).
  16. Rape: A Philosophical Investigation; Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial. [REVIEW]David Archard - 1997 - Radical Philosophy 81.
  17. The Role of Consent in Sado-Masochistic Practices.Nafsika Athanassoulis - 2002 - 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 (...)
  18. Humanae Vitae, Rape and the Zika Virus.Gary Michael Atkinson - 2016 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16 (2):209-214.
  19. Joan McGregor, Is It Rape? On Acquaintance Rape and Taking Women's Consent Seriously Reviewed By.Brenda M. Baker - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26 (1):47-49.
  20. "More or Less Raped": Foucault, Causality, and Feminist Critiques of Sexual Violence.Kelly H. Ball - 2013 - philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 3 (1):14.
  21. Child Rape, Moral Outrage, and the Death Penalty.Susan A. Bandes - 2008 - Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy 103.
    In *Engaging Capital Emotions,* Douglas Berman and Stephanos Bibas argue that emotion is central to understanding and evaluating the death penalty, and that the emotional case for the death penalty for child rape may be even stronger than for adult murder. Both the Berman and Bibas article and the subsequent Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana (striking down the death penalty for child rape) raise difficult questions about how to measure the heinousness of crimes other than murder, and about (...)
  22. Do Not Rape The H. Arendt’s Thought. [REVIEW]Edyta Barańska - 2008 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 3 (3):157-161.
  23. Coming Too Late: Freud, Belatedness, and Existential Trauma.Andrew Barnaby - 2012 - Substance 41 (2):119-138.
  24. Gender, Crime and Violence.Annie Bartlett - 2009 - In Annie Bartlett & Gillian McGauley (eds.), Forensic Mental Health: Concepts, Systems, and Practice. Oxford University Press.
  25. Sexual Property: Staging Rape and Marriage in Indian Law and Feminist Theory.Srimati Basu - 2011 - Feminist Studies 37 (1):185-211.
    In a dramatic postshow performance in January 2004, Kolkata police stormed the play 'Phataru', seeking to arrest actor Rudranil Ghosh on charges of rape brought by fellow-actor Oindrila Chakraborty, galvanizing conversations around rape in terms of sexual agency, marriage and fraud. I examine accounts of this hypervisible case against ethnographic data from other legal settings and other appellate cases which evoke and elide rape in the context of marriage. Legal categories for managing divorce, domestic violence and sexual violence have seemingly (...)
  26. Sexual Democracy.Sarah Begus - 1992 - Radical Philosophy Review of Books 1992 (6):32-39.
  27. Nostalgic Teleology: Schiller and the Three-Stage Schema of Humanism.Constantin Marius Behler - 1990 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    Friedrich Schiller's aesthetic and cultural theories represent the paradigmatic expression of a modern humanist discourse grounded in the three-stage schema of a lost and to-be-regained paradise of human identity and integrity. As such, Schiller's theoretical writings can be regarded as one of the founding documents and holy texts of the modern institutions of aesthetic education. Traditional readings have tended to follow Hegel's affirmative interpretation of Schiller's theoretical work as successfully breaking through the Kantian dualism of nature and freedom, thus stressing (...)
  28. Two Views of Sexual Ethics: Promiscuity Pedophilia, and Rape.David Benatar - forthcoming - Public Affairs Quarterly.
  29. Sexual Assault and the Meaning of Power and Authority for Women with Mental Disabilities.Janine Benedet & Isabel Grant - 2014 - Feminist Legal Studies 22 (2):131-154.
  30. Review Essay/Not so Simple Rape.Vivian Berger - 1988 - Criminal Justice Ethics 7 (1):69-81.
    Susan Estrich, Real Rape Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1987, 160 pp.
  31. Gendering Vulnerability: Re-Scripting the Meaning of Male-Male Rape.Debra Bergoffen - 2014 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 18 (1):164-175.
    The testimonies of men raped by men in Uganda indicate that the meaning of rape as an aggression that enforces the gendering of women as vulnerable and therefore dependent on men's protection needs to be reformulated to account for the fact that being raped transforms a man into a woman. In describing their humiliation, these men reveal that gendered masculinity is grounded in a flight from vulnerability that depends on the presence of vulnerable/rapeable victim bodies. Their words teach us that (...)
  32. Contesting the Politics of Genocidal Rape: Affirming the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body.Debra Bergoffen - 2011 - 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 (...)
  33. Exploiting the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body: Rape as a Weapon of War.Debra Bergoffen - 2009 - 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 (...)
  34. Toward a Politics of the Vulnerable Body.Debra Bergoffen - 2003 - 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.
  35. A Heinous Act.Don Berkich - 2009 - 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 (...)
  36. Torture and Dignity: An Essay on Moral Injury.J. M. Bernstein - 2015 - University of Chicago Press.
    In this unflinching look at the experience of suffering and one of its greatest manifestations—torture—J.M. Bernstein critiques the repressions of traditional moral theory, showing that our morals are not immutable ideals but fragile constructions that depend on our experience of suffering itself. Morals, Bernstein argues, not only guide our conduct but also express the depth of mutual dependence that we share as vulnerable and injurable individuals. Beginning with the attempts to abolish torture in the eighteenth century, and then sensitively examining (...)
  37. Local Powers and Judicial Constraints in a Case of Rape in India.Daniela Berti - 2013 - Diogenes 60 (3-4):97-115.
  38. Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion.Talia Mae Bettcher - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (3):43-65.
    : This essay examines the stereotype that transgender people are "deceivers" and the stereotype's role in promoting and excusing transphobic violence. The stereotype derives from a contrast between gender presentation and sexed body. Because gender presentation represents genital status, Bettcher argues, people who "misalign" the two are viewed as deceivers. The author shows how this system of gender presentation as genital representation is part of larger sexist and racist systems of violence and oppression.
  39. Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion.Talia Mae Bettcher - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (3):43-65.
    This essay examines the stereotype that transgender people are "deceivers" and the stereotype's role in promoting and excusing transphobic violence. The stereotype derives from a contrast between gender presentation and sexed body. Because gender presentation represents genital status, Bettcher argues, people who "misalign" the two are viewed as deceivers. The author shows how this system of gender presentation as genital representation is part of larger sexist and racist systems of violence and oppression.
  40. Rape on the Public Agenda Feminism and the Politics of Sexual Assault.Maria Bevacqua - 2000
  41. Commodification and Phenomenology: Evading Consent in Theory Regarding Rape.John Bogart - 1996 - Legal Theory 2 (3):253-264.
    In a recent essay, Donald Dripps advanced what he calls a "commodification theory" of rape, offered as an alternative to understanding rape in terms of lack of consent. Under the "commodification theory," rape is understood as the expropriation of sexual services, i.e., obtaining sex through "illegitimate" 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 (...)
  42. On the Nature of Rape.John H. Bogart - 1991 - Public Affairs Quarterly 5 (2):117-136.
  43. Putting Gender Into the Definition of Rape or Taking It Out?Elsje Bonthuys - 2008 - 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 (...)
  44. Islam and Women's Sexual Health and Rights in Senegal.Codou Bop - 2005 - Muslim World Journal of Human Rights 2 (1).
  45. Funções cognitivas e Transtorno de Estresse Pós-Traumático (TEPT) em meninas vítimas de abuso sexual.Jeane Lessinger Borges & Débora Dalbosco DellAglio - 2009 - Revista Aletheia 29:88-102.
  46. Sexual Violence, Bodily Pain, and Trauma: A History.J. Bourke - 2012 - Theory, Culture and Society 29 (3):25-51.
    Psychological trauma is a favoured trope of modernity. It has become commonplace to assume that all ‘bad events’ – and particularly those which involve violence – have a pathological effect on the sufferer’s psyche, as well as that of the perpetrators. This essay explores the ways victims of rape and sexual assault were understood in psychiatric, psychological, forensic, and legal texts in Britain and America from the 19th to the late 20th century. It argues that, unlike most other ‘bad events’, (...)
  47. Apollonian Eros and the Fruits of Failure in the Poetic Pursuit of Being: Notes on the Rape of Daphne.Christopher S. Braider - 1990 - Analecta Husserliana 28:325.
  48. Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self.Susan Brison - 2002 - 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.
  49. Contentious Freedom: Sex Work and Social Construction.Susan J. Brison - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (4):192-200.
    In this article, Brison extends the analysis of freedom developed in Nancy J Hirschmann's book, The Subject of Liberty: Toward a Feminist Theory of Freedom, to an area of controversy among feminist theorists: that of sex work, including prostitution and participation in the production of pornography. This topic raises some of the same issues concerning choice and consent as the three topics Hirschmann discusses in her book-domestic violence, the current welfare system in the United States, and Islamic veiling-but it also (...)
  50. Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self.Susan J. Brison - 2003 - Princeton University Press.
    On July 4, 1990, while on a morning walk in southern France, Susan Brison was attacked from behind, severely beaten, sexually assaulted, strangled to unconsciousness, and left for dead. She survived, but her world was destroyed. Her training as a philosopher could not help her make sense of things, and many of her fundamental assumptions about the nature of the self and the world it inhabits were shattered.At once a personal narrative of recovery and a philosophical exploration of trauma, this (...)
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