Rape and Society

Readings on the Problem of Sexual Assault


Edited by Patricia Searles; Ronald Berger

First Edition • April 13, 1995 • 305 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813388243 • $51.00 USD$96.50 CAN

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In the 1970s rape became the point of departure for an ongoing feminist examination of the subordination and sexual victimization of women. More recently, domestic violence, prostitution, sexual harassment, and pornography have come to the forefront of investigators’ concerns. Rape and Society returns to the original focus on rape, while also illuminating the interconnections among the many forms of violence against women.

The book provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject, drawing on writers and researchers from across a range of social and behavioral sciences and the humanities and representing the experiences of women of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. From the private torment of a child abused by her father to the horror of mass rape and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the authors analyze rape as a tool of humiliation, control, and terror.

Rape and Society is an essential resource for academics and professionals and for anyone wanting to come to grips with the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence. Because the selections are moving as well as thought-provoking and varied in approach (theoretical, empirical, literary, and experiential), this interdisciplinary anthology is a superb text for undergraduate and graduate courses in women’s studies, psychology, sociology, and criminology. It offers incisive analyses and carefully designed research to help us understand and explain rape while sensitizing us to the personal dimensions of sexual victimization and the emotional toll of living in a violent society. There are hopeful voices here too, helping readers envision a safer and more humane world, offering concrete suggestions for social change, and encouraging us all to gather the power and courage to take on the work that lies before us.


Patricia Searles is professor of sociology and women’s studies at University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, where Ronald J. Berger is professor of sociology and coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program.

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