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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay outlines social scientific and theoretical inquiries into sexual violence. It argues that sexual violence must be studied and responded to with a significantly different approach than other forms of violence. Sexual violence is immanently linked to gender differentiation and sexual difference. Therefore this essay focuses attention on how feminist scholars have theorized consent, desire, and identity in the context of understanding sexual violence. It traces the development of research and theorizing about sexual violence over the past forty years since the emergence of the antirape movement. The essay reviews historical, social science, and sociobiological research in the context of feminist theories that have influenced understanding of sexual violence.

Keywords: feminist, consent, desire, identity, sexual violence, gender

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