Sociology of Rape - Social phenomenon of rape
The study of rape or sexual assault has grown greatly since
the late 1960s due to feminist activists and authors. Rape is a
social harm directly touching a number of women and in many ways, impacts nearly all
women. In Mill's terms, Rape is a social problem, or
issue, that effects all of society. We will challenge traditional patriarchal beliefs, and
question current feminist thinking to try and find the most complete understanding of
sexual assault. The sociology of rape course will explore the causes of rape, theories
trying to explain rape, the fear of rape which leads to social
control, delve into what research statistics can and cannot tell us, look at rape law
reform as well as legal processing of rape cases, peek at the presentation of rape in
different forms of media (predominately film and video), and tiptoe through various
contentious issues surrounding rape, including the current emerging debate in what is
often the gray area in interpreting sexual conduct, the debate over date rape and the
uproar over evolution theory. - Professor: John Hamlin
From - Where women bore the brunt
THE HINDU Online edition of India's National Newspaper, Saturday, May 11, 2002 By
(The writer is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley.)
Among the women surviving in relief camps are many who have suffered the most
bestial forms of sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, mass rape, stripping,
insertion of objects into their body, and molestations. A majority of rape victims have
been burnt alive. - Citizens' Initiative, "The Survivors Speak,'' April 16, 2002.
From the report of the Citizen's Initiative fact-finding team of women. The report makes
it clear that young Muslim girls, pregnant women, women with new-born babies were chased,
caught, raped, cut, pierced, stabbed, and burnt. How did this come to pass? How did groups
of men come to believe that such deeds could and should be done?
It is the belief that women are not only inferior but also woman's sexuality has to be
patrolled so that it is legitimately accessible to some men and inaccessible to others.
Witness the spate of murders of women who dare marry outside their community. Sometimes
she realises too late that her body may be torn apart and destroyed because she has dared
to love another human being without permission. A woman's body ultimately belongs to her
community not to herself.
As Urvashi Butalia, Ritu Menon and Kamala Bhasin have shown, the Us and Them feelings of
communities during Partition created protected and protectable women on one side and
unprotected and rapable women on the other side. The populations were identified at
Partition and then stored in the collective memory to be whipped into frenzy when
For communal rapes on a mass scale we need still other conditions, the most important of
which is a complicit state. This means we must have police who laugh or join in, leaders
who blatantly discriminate and lie, and courts, which do not prosecute.