Twenty-two accounts of rape as told by the victim to one of five interviewers selected by Russell, a professor at Mills...

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THE POLITICS OF RAPE: The Victims' Perspective

Twenty-two accounts of rape as told by the victim to one of five interviewers selected by Russell, a professor at Mills college. Unlike Medea & Thompson who compiled a similar book a few months ago (Against Rape, p. 567), Russell seems to have gone out of her way to collect the most repugnant and sensational material she could fred. A 55-year-old schoolteacher tells of being held captive for two days and nights while her brutal assailant repeatedly attacked her. A young Chicano woman talks about being raped four times before the age of twenty. A mother of four recalls being gang-banged by a group of teen-age hoods when she was fifteen, et sickening al. Russell even inserts some interviews with rapists which more or less purport to show that this is a crime that Joe Average, product of our sexist culture, will commit without a second thought. The details of sexual violation are needlessly graphic and it is difficult to believe Russell's assertion that ""many people continue to believe that a woman cannot be raped"" (rape only happens to women who ""ask for it""). More convincing is the evidence that most rapists are not psychopaths; that sexual attack is ""the natural outcome of opportunity""; that the ""masculine mystique"" which so prizes aggression, domination and conquest encourages this ultimate sexist act. Russell includes a couple of chapters on arming yourself (physically and psychically) against would-be attackers. She is strongly in favor of ""female rage"" which will give you the strength to go for the bastard's balls or claw out his eyes. Not an appealing book, though for the very naive, the very passive and the very timid, it may offer some useful counsel.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1974

ISBN: 0595292879

Page Count: -

Publisher: Stein & Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974