New scholarship on rape in American history.Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America. Edited by Merril D. Smith. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : New York University Press New York University Press (or NYU Press), founded in 1916, is a university press that is part of New York University. External link
This collection of historical articles mostly deals with rape or sexual coercion in specific places and during specific time periods in American history. Three focus on the seventeenth century, in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Netherland New Netherland, territory included in a commercial grant by the government of Holland to the Dutch West India Company in 1621. Colonists were settled along the Hudson River region; in 1624 the first permanent settlement was established at Fort Orange (now Albany, N.Y. (New York), two on the eighteenth century, in Pennsylvania and Upper Canada Upper Canada: see Ontario. , and one on Vermont's rape law in the last part of the nineteenth century. Also included are chapters on rape law and children in the South before the Civil War, marital rape in the nineteenth century, the famous Massie rape/murder case in Hawaii, Black-White rape (alleged and otherwise) in Virginia, the correlation between sexual coercion and a woman's choice, and rape on campus.
Collectively the articles constitute what might be called the second phase of the study of rape and sexual coercion. The first phase was marked by generalized studies by individuals such as Susan Brownmiller (1975), Catherine MacKinnon (1981; 1991), and Susan Estrich Susan Estrich (born Susan Estrich December 16 1952) is a lawyer, professor, author, political operative, feminist advocate and commentator for Fox News.
Estrich grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts on Boston's North Shore. (1986). The first-phase works forcibly brought the issues to public attention, but were mostly based on surveys of appellate decisions in rape cases. Such a perspective is in a sense ahistorical a·his·tor·i·cal
Unconcerned with or unrelated to history, historical development, or tradition: "All of this is totally ahistorical. , because, as Hal Goldman points out in his article on Vermont's rape law, no person living in the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries ever experienced the law in the way these works presented it. Instead, until recently rape was a state and local issue, and local juries were responsible for the definition of the law and its application. Thus, Goldman and other contributors to this collection argue that it is essential to do the kind of localized studies that comprise this book.
One thing that appears evident is that the age of consent varied widely throughout the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , and so did the issue of sexual coercion for that matter. Rape of a wife by a husband was something which was inconceivable in almost all jurisdictions. Children, both male and female, were often victims of sexual coercion, if not outright rape, and this was often ignored. Although both Black and White women were raped in twentieth century Virginia by males of both races, there was a double standard of justice until the racial make up of juries began to change at the end of the twentieth century. The only general overview article is about rape on college campuses, and while the numbers are low, it is argued that the official statistics tell only part of the story. To individualize in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. campus rape, and to illustrate the responses to it, several case studies of campus rates are analyzed.
The book includes coverage of one of the two most politically charged rape cases of the 1930s: that of Thalia Massey, wife of a Navy officer in Hawaii, by five Hawaiian men in 1931. The case competed for public attention with the 1931 Scottsboro case Scottsboro Case. In 1931 nine black youths were indicted at Scottsboro, Ala., on charges of having raped two white women in a freight car passing through Alabama. in which nine Black men were charged with raping two White women on a westbound train to Memphis. Perhaps because this later case is so much better known, it was not analyzed in this volume. Probably, however, the Massey case had the most direct political impact on a government. The police responded quickly to the Massey charges and arrested and charged five men. The case against them was weak, the police work was sloppy, and after some 96 hours of deliberation the mixed-race jury was unable to reach a verdict. A second trial was scheduled but one of the accused Hawaiian men was murdered before the trial started. Thalia Massie's mother, her husband, and two enlisted Navy men were charged with murder, found guilty, and sentenced to ten years in prison. The governor of Hawaii The Governor of Hawaiʻi, also called Ke Kiaʻaina o Hawaiʻi , a federally appointed official (since Hawaii was not a state), almost immediately commuted the sentence to one hour. The resulting controversy over the apparent racial conflict in Hawaii eventually led to Hawaii being placed under martial law martial law, temporary government and control by military authorities of a territory or state, when war or overwhelming public disturbance makes the civil authorities of the region unable to enforce its law. to avoid the lessening of European influence, which the jury in the Massie case threatened to undermine. It also delayed statehood state·hood
The status of being a state, especially of the United States, rather than being a territory or dependency. for Hawaii.
Why is this collection of articles on rape in American history important for sexologists? As editor Merril D. Smith points out, exploring the experience, the prosecution, and the meaning of rape in American history adds a larger dimension to the study not only of crime and punishments, but of gender relations, gender roles, and sexual politics in American history.
Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women, and rape. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Estrich, S. (1986). Rape. Yale Law Journal, 95, 1087-1194.
MacKinnon, C. (1983). Feminism, Marxism, method and state: Toward feminist jurisprudence A philosophy of law based on the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Overview
Feminist jurisprudence is a burgeoning school of legal thought that encompasses many theories and approaches to law and legal issues. . Signs, 8, 635-38.
MacKinnon, C. (1991). Reflections on sex equality under law. Yale Law Journal, 100, 1281-1328.
Reviewed by Vern L. Bullough, R.N., Ph.D., 3304 West Sierra Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91362; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.