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Volume 29 • Number 4

October 2015



Feminism and Rape

by Reginald Williams

Rape is an important topic in feminist philosophy. Men are raped, but not nearly as often as women. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 90 percent of rape victims are women. While women commit rape, moreover, men do so much more often. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, men perpetrate 99 percent of rapes.

    Rape is a crime—a serious crime—that men predominantly perpetrate against women. Since Susan Brownmiller's landmark study in 1975, we have understood the prevalence of rape, how often it goes unreported, how many rapists know their victims, and how devastating the effects of rape are. Currently in the United States, one in six women will be raped or suffer an attempt; 14.8 percent will be raped and 2.8 percent will suffer an attempt.

    Given the seriousness and prevalence of rape, and that it is predominantly a crime that men commit against women, there is a large feminist literature on the topic. Many influential feminists, though, conceive of rape in ways that are not just implausible but disturbing. They include Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and Rae Langton.

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ISSN: 2152-0542