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.