Joanna Bourke: Why is Rape So Difficult for Some to Understand?Roundup: Historians' Take
Joanna Bourke is professor of history at Birkbeck College and the author of Rape: Sex, Violence, History.
RAPE is painful, demeaning and destructive. Why is this so difficult for some people - including some influential men - to understand? People who have survived sexual assault and rape are right to be appalled to hear the British Minister for Justice minimising the effect of rape when the attacker was well known to them. In a discussion about whether criminal sentences should be reduced if the accused pleaded guilty, Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke made a distinction between ''serious rapes'' and ''date rapes''. He later retracted this distinction, but the implication that ''date rape'' is not ''serious rape'' is extraordinary for a man in charge of the criminal justice system.
This tendency to minimise the effect of sexual violence has also been seen in the furore over the arrest of the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for attempted sexual assault. It turns out that a great many people suspected that Strauss-Kahn had a dark side. The media and other politicians seem to have turned a blind eye.
It is well known that most rapes and sexual assaults are carried out by people one knows. Indeed, Tristane Banon, the novelist and journalist who has claimed that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in 2002, chose not to report his alleged violence to the police because he was a family friend. He was also incredibly powerful....
comments powered by Disqus
- Donald Trump Is Wrong on Mosul Attack, Military Experts Say
- Emmett Till memorial sign is riddled with bullet holes and has been repeatedly vandalized
- Posthumous pardons law may see Oscar Wilde exonerated
- Has an Election Ever Been Rigged in U.S. History?
- A short history of white people rigging elections
- Steven Runciman — historian, tease and professional enigma — is the subject of a biography
- Historian Eric Foner: Trump is Logical Conclusion of What the GOP Has Been Doing for Decades
- Ken Burns developing 'The Gene' based on Mukherjee's bestseller
- Does the 'Father' of the 1948 Ethnic Cleansing Narrative Really Want to Recant His Words?
- Max Boot wants to know “what the hell happened to my Republican Party?"