Soon there will be sex robots. The creation of such devices raises a host of social, legal and ethical questions. In this article, I focus in on one of them. What if these sex robots are deliberately designed and used to replicate acts of rape and child sexual abuse? Should the creation and use of such robots be criminalised, even if no person is harmed by the acts performed? I offer an argument for thinking that they should be. The (...) argument consists of two premises. The first claims that it can be a proper object of the criminal law to regulate wrongful conduct with no extrinsically harmful effects on others. The second claims that the use of robots that replicate acts of rape and child sexual abuse would be wrongful, even if such usage had no extrinsically harmful effects on others. I defend both premises of this argument and consider its implications for the criminal law. I do not offer a conclusive argument for criminalisation, nor would I wish to be interpreted as doing so; instead, I offer a tentative argument and a framework for future debate. This framework may also lead one to question the proposed rationales for criminalisation. (shrink)
In 2012, the politician Todd Akin caused a firestorm by suggesting, in the context of an argument about the moral permissibility of abortion, that some forms of rape were. This seemed to imply that other forms of rape must not be legitimate. In response, several commentators pointed out that rape is a and that there are. While the intention of these commentators was clear, I argue that they may have played into the very stereotype of rape (...) endorsed by Akin. Such a response, I claim, actually obscures a range of sexual harms, including some that may not rise to the level of being a crime. I also offer some thoughts on the moral psychology behind anti-abortion arguments of the kind advanced by Akin. (shrink)
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 significance at the Rwandan and Yugoslav Tribunals where rape has been prosecuted as a crime against humanity and genocide. In this paper, I examine how the Rwanda Tribunal’s record of judgments conceives of rape enacted as an instrument of the genocide. I consider in particular how the Tribunal’s conception of ‘rape as a weapon of war’ shapes what can be known about sexual violence and gender in the Rwandan genocide and what cannot, the categories of victims legally recognised and those that are not, and the questions pursued, and those foreclosed, about the patterns of violence before and during the genocide. (shrink)
Rape conviction rates have fallen to all-time lows in recent years, prompting governments to explore a range of strategies to improve them. This paper argues that, while the current legal impunity for rape cannot be condoned, increasing conviction rates is not in itself a valid objective of law reform. The paper problematises the measure of rape law that conviction rates provide by developing an account of (some) feminist aims for rape law reform. Three feminist aims and (...) associated measures are explained—all of which look beyond conviction rates to qualitative and victim-centred outcomes of criminal justice processes. Applying these measures, I argue that strategies designed solely to increase conviction rates are more likely to work against, rather than in support of, feminist aims. The paper thus underscores the need for continued feminist engagement with rape law reform, broadly conceived, notwithstanding its acute limitations for feminist anti-violence politics. (shrink)
Rather than focusing on the legal and political questions that surround genocidal rape, in this paper I treat a vital area of inquiry that has received much less attention: the moral significance of genocidal rape. My aim is to augment existing moral accounts of rape in order to address the specific contexts of genocidal rape. I move beyond understanding rape primarily as a violation of an individual's interests or agential abilities. The account I offer builds (...) on these approaches (as well as on a pluralist approach), by arguing that rape, as a moral injury, negatively affects the very human dignity of victims. My account also emphasizes the relational harm that marks genocidal rape. (shrink)
This book offers a critical feminist perspective on the widely debated topic of transitional justice and forgiveness. Louise Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape with a feminist philosophical discourse concerning women’s or ‘feminine’ subjectivity and selfhood. She demonstrates how the hierarchical dichotomy of male active versus female passive sexuality – which obscures the true nature of rape – is embedded in the dominant western symbolic frame. Through a Hegelian and phenomenological reading of first-person accounts by rape (...) victims, she excavates an understanding of rape that also starts to open up a way out of the denial and destruction of female sexual subjectivity. (shrink)
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 crime. This essential reference work is among the first philosophical anthologies devoted exclusively to the subject of rape--as complex and interesting intellectually as it is pervasive and disturbing socially. (shrink)
The reform of rape law remains a vexed enterprise. The wager of this article is that the plural traditions and technologies of criminal law can provide the resources for a radical rethinking of rape law. Parts 1 and 2 return to the historical and structural forms of rape law reform in Australia. These forms of reform illustrate a variety of criminal jurisdictions, and a transformation in the way in which rape law reform is conducted now. Against (...) this transformation, Part 3 takes up the technology of classification in rape law in order to generate a radical legal definition of rape—one which responds to the pain and suffering of the survivor of rape, at the same time as it holds the legal institution before the law. This has important implications, it is suggested, not only for domestic legal systems but also the jurisprudence of rape in international criminal law. (shrink)
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 of the author's previous scepticism aboutthe capacity for the Tribunal meaningfully toaddress violence against women. The commentconcludes that while many aspects of thedecision are promising, the war crimes trialitself may offer a limiting arena within whichto address wartime rape. (shrink)
Mandatory risk assessment is intended to reassure concerned citizens and introduce reason into the heated European controversies on genetically modified crops and food. The authors, examining a case of risk assessment of genetically modified oilseed rape, claim that the new European legislation on risk assessment does nothing of the sort and is not likely to present an escape from the international deadlock on the use of genetic modification in agriculture and food production. The new legislation is likely to stimulate (...) the kind of emotive reactions it was intended to prevent. In risk assessment exercises, scientific uncertainty is turned into risk, expressed in facts and figures. Paradoxically, this conveys an impression of certainty, while value-disagreement and conflicts of interest remain hidden below the surface of factuality. Public dialogue and negotiation along these lines are rendered impossible. The only option left to critics is to resort to claims of fear and to call for new risk assessments to be performed, on and on again. Science is allowing itself to be abused by accepting the burden of proof in matters more suited to reflection and negotiation. The specific challenge to science would be to take care of itself – rethinking the role and the limitations of science in a social context, and, thereby gaining the strength to fulfill this role and to enter into dialogue with the rest of society. Scientific communities appear to be obvious candidates for prompting reflection and dialogue on this issue. (shrink)
This article proposes that feminist legal critics need to be able to explain how some rape cases succeed in securing convictions. The means by which rape cases are routinely disqualified in the criminal justice system have received widespread attention. It is well established in feminist legal critique that female complainants are discredited if they fail to conform to an archaic stereotype of the genuine or ‘real’ rape victim. This victim is not only morally and sexually virtuous she (...) is also cautious, unprovocative, and consistent. Defence tactics for discrediting rape testimony involve exposing the complainant's alleged failure to comply with the sexual and behavioural standards of the normative victim.This understanding of how rape complain(an)ts are disqualified is not predictive, however, of the complainants whose cases succeed in securing convictions. This article reviews some successful Australian rape cases and considers the ways in which they disturb feminist understandings of how rape complaints are discredited in the criminal justice system. It proposes that recent research analysing the discourse of rape trials provides a way of explaining the apparent discrepancies between the ‘ideal’ rape victim and successful complainants. (shrink)
Is a given instance of rape more likely to result in pregnancy than a given instance of consensual sex? This paper undertakes a review and critique of the literature on rape-pregnancy. Next, it presents our own estimation, from U.S. government data, of pregnancy rates for reproductive age victims of penile-vaginal rape. Using data on birth control usage from the Statisticalof the United States, we then form an estimate of rapepregnancy rates adjusted for the substantial number of women (...) in our sample who would likely have been protected by oral contraception or an IUD. Our analysis suggests that per-incident rape-pregnancy rates exceed per-incident consensual pregnancy rates by a sizable margin, even before adjusting for the use of relevant forms of birth control. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed, as are its implications to ongoing debates over the ultimate causes of rape. (shrink)
How can we eradicate violence against women? How, at least, can we reduce its prevalence? One possibility offered by Catharine MacKinnon is to harness international human rights norms, especially prohibitions on torture, and apply them to sexual violence with greater rigour and commitment than has hitherto been the case. This article focuses particularly on the argument that all rapes constitute torture in which states are actively complicit. It questions whether a feminist strategy to reconceptualise rape as torture should be (...) pursued, suggesting that we retain the label ‘rape’ due to its gendered meaning and powerful associations. It is also claimed that we may lose sight of the commonality of rape in calling it torture, as well as obscuring the varied responses of women survivors. Finally, the article canvasses the idea that we recognise the different circumstances and contexts in which rape takes place, which may mean different criminal offences for different rapes; for example, preserving the label ‘torture’ for those rapes in which state officials are participants. (shrink)
This paper is about the question of whether or not virtual rape should be considered a crime under current law. A virtual rape is the rape of an avatar in a virtual world. In the future, possibilities for virtual rape of a person him- or herself will arise in virtual reality environments involving a haptic device or robotics. As the title indicates, I will study both these present and future instances of virtual rape in light (...) of three categories of legal philosophical theories on rape in order to answer the aforementioned question. I will argue that a virtual rape in a future virtual reality environment involving a haptic device or robotics should in principle count as the crime of rape; for it corresponds to rape as it is viewed under the liberal theories that currently dominate the law. A surprising finding will be that a virtual rape in a virtual world re-actualizes the conservative view of rape that used to dominate the law in the Middle Ages and resembles rape as it is viewed under the feminist theories that criticize current law. Virtual rape in a virtual world cannot count as rape under current law; however, and at the end of this paper, I will suggest qualifying it as sexual harassment instead. (shrink)
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 profound way, central concepts such as sex and gender and the gendered nature of rape. It further suggests that, instead of being an aberration, the judgment actually fits into a pattern of conservative judgments about gender and sexuality by the South African Constitutional Court. (shrink)
This paper sets out to read how gender is produced in changes to the law of rape introduced in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and in critical academic discussions reflecting on these changes. It utilises the work of Judith Butler in order to form an understanding of how the gendered subject is produced in rape law and in academic discussions about rape law. Through Butler's idea of gender performativity,it contends that neither the statute nor (...) the critique of the legal changes (as represented in academic writings) produce any radical `transformation' in rape law. In neither instance does the law or its critique challenge the normative understanding of gender as the cultural formation of `sex'. Rather, both discourses sustain and maintain what Butler calls ``heterosexual hegemony''. As the final section or the postscript of the paper suggests, there are moments in judgements when the identified subject exceeds the marking and exposes the limits of the hegemonic logic. This exposition can serve as an opening in which, as Butler argues, the politics of resistance can create the possibility of an embodied justice. (shrink)
This article engages with the vogue for predicting the effects of the Human Rights Act 1998 by focusing on the rape prosecution and trial. The specific interest is feminist scrutiny of the right to a fair trial, particularly the concept of ‘fairness’, in light of the increasing use of disclosure rules (in Canada and England) to gain access to medical and counseling records. Transcending the two contemporary narratives of ‘victims’/women’s rights and defendants’ rights in the criminal justice system, the (...) authors argue for the infusion of the legal debate on disclosure with feminist understandings of wider cultural debates. They suggest that an increased reflexivity about intimacy, publicity and power, leading perhaps to the development of a concept of ‘democratic publicity’ (Fraser, 1997, p. 100), might help to revision the meaning of ‘relevant’ evidence in the rape trial. They also suggest that the wide-ranging cultural debate about memory, truth and history, and the emerging commitment to experimentation in responding to massive, institutionalised human rights violations (including apartheid, war crimes and child abuse) might be of use in deepening current thinking about the rape trial and listening to the ‘voice’ of the complainant. (shrink)
I examine a Canadian Supreme Court decision concerning the constitutionality of Canada's 1982 rape-shield legislation, and suggest how material from the decision might profitably be used in an informal-logic class in connection with the topics of relevance and conductive argument. I also consider theoretical matters related to the decision: first I develop two analyses of what I call an argument from 'unchasteness' and connect them to George Bowles's theory of propositional relevance; then I present Trudy Govier with a problem (...) in response to which she might revise her account of a conductive argument in a way I describe. (shrink)
In Athens and other ancient cultures, a woman, whatever her status and whatever her age or social class, was, in law, a perpetual minor. Throughout her life, she was in the legal control of a guardian who represented her in law. Rape, as unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman, warranted a capital charge in the Graeco-Roman world. It still carries a capital charge in some societies and is considered a felony in others. As for adultery, it may be prosecuted (...) in some cultures while in others it is a matter to be decided by the family council. This paper examines laws concerning the abuse of and exploitation of women in ancient and modern societies, especially within the context of their biologically determined roles and sexual culture. It also seeks to establish the socio-legal rights of women, especially those who were traumatised and sexually abused. The research method is mainly content analysis. It employs sources such as legal evidence in the form of recorded speeches of the Attic orators along with literary accounts, historical or legendary and epigraphic inscriptions. (shrink)
Historically, numbers of women complainants in rape trials have been regarded suspiciously, or prejudiced in that their credibility has been seriously called into question, or undermined, both from within and outside the courtroom. Arguably, public and legal perceptions as to the expected conduct and behaviour of the stereotypical rape victim have been grounded in the belief that genuine women who allege rape should act and portray themselves as unequivocal victims. This suggests that the contemporary construct of the (...) female rape victim and her associated stereotypical image should be considered not solely as a legal derivative but also within a wider cultural context. This article explores the historical influences that shaped the cultural construct operating in the U.K., in particular, the societal and legal attitudes of the mid-Victorians towards women and sexual violence, creating an historical mystification around the construct of the female rape victim and the crime of rape itself. Reference is made to a number of cases reported in The Times newspaper between 1850–1885 which underline the requisite portrayal of the rape complainant as an unequivocal victim. It is argued that the relocation of this historical and socially constructed mythological imaginary within the context of the law and the trial process has disproportionately contributed to the modern scepticism which surrounds the female complainant. (shrink)
This article is a response to an essay written by an academic in English Literature, Professor John Sutherland. Through close textual analysis,Sutherland purports to resolve a well-known literary question: whether the sexual encounter outlined in the Victorian novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles should be classified as rape or seduction. The present article rejects his conclusion on the matter. An(equally) close analysis of the fictional text in question and of Sutherland's gloss, demonstrates the partiality of his critique, both in literary-critical (...) and critical-legal terms. In addition, examination of the conceptual and historico-legal context regarding the notions of rape and seduction on both sides of the Atlantic highlights parallels between Sutherland's own partiality and that of the law. In short, the apparent objectivity of the textual analysis and subsequent critique undertaken by Sutherland is revealed as a continuation of legal and patriarchal prejudices defining rape and seduction. The use of close textual analysis as the key critical device promotes the apparent probity of his findings. Locating them in an essay collection designed for mass lay public consumption completes the circle – from partisan scholarship to `informed' popular prejudice. (shrink)
Widespread and systematic rape pervaded both the genocides in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 and in Rwanda in 1994. In response to these conflicts, the Yugoslav Tribunal (ICTY) and the Rwandan Tribunal (ICTR) were created and charged with meting justice for crimes committed, including rape. Nevertheless, the two tribunals differ in their relative success in administering justice for crimes of rape. Addressing rape has been a consistent element of the ICTY prosecution strategy, which resulted in gender-sensitive investigative procedures, (...) higher frequencies of rape indictments, and more successful prosecutions. In contrast, rape has not been a central focus of the ICTR prosecution strategy, which resulted in a sporadic approach to gender-sensitive investigative procedures, inconsistent rape indictments, and few successful prosecutions. What accounts for this disparity in rape prosecutions between the Rwandan and Yugoslav tribunals? Building off the existing literature that discusses factors such as legal instruments and resource capacity of the tribunal, this article argues that transnational advocacy helped generate the necessary political will to adopt and implement legal norms regarding crimes of sexual violence at the ICTY and the ICTR. Following the importance of transnational advocacy as agents of norm change, this paper also explores the antecedent conditions of advocacy mobilization that conditioned different levels of mobilization vis-à-vis the ICTY and the ICTR, including media attention and framing, connections and interest match with local groups, and geopolitical context. (shrink)
Rape is an important topic in feminist philosophy and the real world. This paper argues that three influential feminists understate the gravity and brutality of rape. They are Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and Rae Langton. I also propose an alternative analysis of rape that captures its appalling nature. Dworkin and MacKinnon construe rape as something that actors in pornography, with notoriously poor acting skills, can portray as pleasurable. Langton construes rape as a kind of sex (...) act: as sex that is “unwanted,” “unconsensual,” “refused,” or “forced.” I argue that rape and sex are categorically distinct. Rape is an act of violence, not an act of sex. I argue that rape occurs when 1) the genitals, fingers, or hands of one subject, or a foreign object, penetrate the genitals or anus of another subject and 2) one subject (the victim): (a) refuses to penetrate the other’s genitals or anus with one’s genitals, (b) refuses to have one’s genitals or anus penetrated by the other’s genitals, fingers, or hands, or a foreign object; or (c) is incapable of thus refusing (e.g., because one is unconscious, dissociating, or suffering debilitating fear). (shrink)
Lack of consent is valorized within popular culture to the point that sexual assault has become a spectator sport and creepshot entertainment on social media. Indeed, the valorization of nonconsensual sex has reached the extreme where sex with unconscious girls, especially accompanied by photographs as trophies, has become a goal of some boys and men.
This is a critique of "A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion" (Thornhill & Palmer, 2000). Lloyd argues that they have failed to do "excellent science" as required to defend themselves against criticism. As an example, Lloyd contends that they make conclusions which depend on rape being a single trait, while failing to prorivde any basis for such an assumption.
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.
In a recent article in this journal, Nellie Wieland argues that silencing in the sense put forward by Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby has the unpalatable consequence of diminishing a rapist's responsibility for the rape. We argue both that Wieland misidentifies Langton and Hornsby's conception of silencing, and that neither Langton and Hornsby's actual conception, nor the one that Wieland attributes to them, in fact generates this consequence.
This paper shows how the mythology surrounding rape enters into a criterion of reasonableness which operates through the legal system to make women vulnerable to unscrupulous victimization. It explores the possibility for changes in legal procedures and presumptions that would better serve women's interests and leave them less vulnerable to sexual violence. This requires that we reformulate the criterion of consent in terms of what is reasonable from a woman's point of view.
: This essay provides a critical analysis of rape prevention since the 1980s. I argue that we must challenge rape prevention's habitual reinforcement of the notion that fear is a woman's best line of defense. I suggest changes that must be made in the anti-rape movement if we are to move past fear. Ultimately, I raise the question of what, if not vague threats and scare tactics, constitutes prevention.
This essay examines how rape of women and girls by male soldiers works as a martial weapon. Continuities with other torture and terrorism and with civilian rape are suggested. The inadequacy of past philosophical treatments of the enslavement of war captives is briefly discussed. Social strategies are suggested for responding and a concluding fantasy offered, not entirely social, of a strategy to change the meanings of rape to undermine its use as a martial weapon.
Titian's Rape of Europa is highly praised for its luminous colors and sensual textures. But the painting has an overlooked dark side, namely that it eroticizes rape. I argue that this is an ethical defect that diminishes the painting aesthetically. This argument-that an artwork can be worse off qua work of art precisely because it is somehow ethically problematic-demonstrates that feminist concerns about art can play a legitimate role in art criticism and aesthetic appreciation.
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 attempts to discount the wrongfulness of rape for those who do not value sex; fifthly, I contrast two models for weighing interests, according to one of which rape is not seriously wrongful; finally, I sketch a defence of the view that our sexual integrity ought to be a central interest of ours. (shrink)
England and Wales have recently experienced wide-ranging rape law reform and a galloping rape reporting rate but no comparable increase in rape convictions, leading many erstwhile law reformers to turn attention to attitudes. In essence, their argument is that reform has proved relatively ineffective because a range of agents hold ‘rape myths’. Despite the broad consensus that this approach has attracted, I argue that the regressiveness of current public attitudes towards rape has been overstated. The (...) claim that rape myths are widespread may be challenged on three grounds: first, some of the attitudes are not myths; secondly, not all the myths are about rape; thirdly, there is little evidence that the rape myths are widespread. To a troubling extent, we are in the process of creating myths about myths. This process functions to close down, not open up, the possibilities of a productive public conversation about important and at times vexed questions. (shrink)
Standards of reasonability play an important role in some of the most difficult cases of rape. In recent years, the notion of the reasonable person has supplanted the historical concept of the reasonable man as the test of reasonability. Contemporary feminist critics like Catharine MacKinnon and Kim Lane Scheppele have challenged the notion of the reasonable person on the grounds that reasonability standards are gendered to the ground and so, in practice, the reasonable person is just the reasonable man (...) in a gender neutral guise. These critics call for the explicit employment of a reasonable woman standard for application to the actions of female victims of rape. But the arguments for abandoning a gender-neutral standard are double-edged and the employment of gendered standards of reasonability is likely to have implications that are neither foreseen by, nor acceptable to, advocates of such standards. Reasonable agent standards can be dropped, in favor of appeals to the notion of a reasonable demand by the law. However, if reasonable agent standards are to be retained, gendered versions of such standards are not preferable to gender-neutral ones. (shrink)
: Because "rape" has such a powerful appraisive meaning, how one defines the term has normative significance. Those who define rape rigidly so as to exclude contemporary feminist understandings are therefore seeking to silence some moral perspectives "by definition." I argue that understanding rape as an essentially contested concept allows the concept sufficient flexibility to permit open moral discourse, while at the same time preserving a core meaning that can frame the discourse.
This article argues that rape myths and domestic abuse myths constitute hermeneutical injustices. Drawing on empirical research, I show that the prevalence of these myths makes victims of rape and of domestic abuse less likely to apply those terms to their experiences. Using Sally Haslanger's distinction between manifest and operative concepts, I argue that in these cases, myths mean that victims hold a problematic operative concept, or working understanding, which prevents them from identifying their experience as one of (...)rape or of domestic abuse. Since victims in this situation lack the conceptual resources needed to render their experience sufficiently intelligible, they are suffering a form of hermeneutical injustice. Attending to this distinctive case sheds new light not only on the functioning of social myths of this kind but on the nature of hermeneutical injustice itself, since the case of the victim who accepts myths is importantly different from other cases of hermeneutical injustice discussed in the literature to date. In practical terms, this analysis supports calls for juries in rape trials to be warned about rape myths at the start of the trial, and may have implications for calls for statutory Sex and Relationships Education in schools. (shrink)
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 the body of human rights law is a law of bodies; to the ways in which our desire for intimacy creates communal ties that ground our personal and social identities; to the ways in which the symbolic meanings of our bodies are integral to our sense of integrity and worth; and to the ways in which gender structures which position men as protectors of women make it possible for rape to be used as an effective and criminal weapon of war. (shrink)
We criticize the following views: only the rapist is responsible since only he committed the act; no one is responsible since rape is a biological response to stimuli; everyone is responsible since men and women contribute to the rape culture; and patriarchy is responsible but no person or group. We then argue that, in some societies, men are collectively responsible for rape since most benefit from rape and most are similar to the rapist.
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 as long as men's illicit identity as autonomous and invulnerable is illegitimately secured by stigmatizing vulnerability, heterosexual and male-male rape will be used to denigrate women and men alike. They indicate that the antidote to the scourge of rape lies in delegitimizing gender systems that victimize vulnerability and in creating cultural norms that recognize vulnerability as inherent in the interdependence and dignity of the human condition. (shrink)
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.
: 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 bodily and sexually specific meanings. (shrink)
From the American Law Institute to college campuses, there is a renewed interest in the law of rape. Law school faculty, however, may be reluctant to teach this deeply debated topic. This article begins from the premise that controversial and contested questions can be best resolved when participants understand the conceptual architecture that surrounds and delineates the normative questions. This allows participants to talk to one another instead of past each other. Accordingly, in this article, we begin by diffusing (...) two non-debates: the apparent conflict created when speakers use “consent” to mean two different things and the question of whether rape law ought to be formulated in terms of consent or force. From here, we turn to the conceptual apparatuses that surround the normative questions of freedom from force, knowledge, and capacity. Here, we suggest how better understanding these concepts can frame the underlying discussions as to what sorts of coercion undermine consent, what kinds of deception invalidate consent, and when the victim is too incapacitated to consent. Finally, we turn to different formulations of consent, demonstrating that one conception better captures the harm of rape but that other formulations may better protect victims. We show how clarifying these questions allows discussants to see why different formulations are valuable and to debate the best all-things-considered formulation. Although this article is framed as a question of how to think like lawyers about rape, its ambition is to set forth a framework that is useful to reformers as well. (shrink)
In the preceding piece, Timothy Chambers agrees with some feminists that . Here, I briefly defend the view that, whatever else rape is, it is, indeed, a sexual act. Timothy will reply in another piece.
This essay provides a critical analysis of rape prevention since the 1980s. I argue that we must challenge rape prevention's habitual reinforcement of the notion that fear is a woman's best line of defense. I suggest changes that must be made in the anti-rape movement if we are to move past fear. Ultimately, I raise the question of what, if not vague threats and scare tactics, constitutes prevention.