Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Sexual violence has a surprisingly static history, whether regarding methods of sexual assault, the relationship of sexual vulnerability to economic and social vulnerability, an underlying suspicion of women’s claims of sexual force, or an emphasis on physical violence as the only believable means of coercion. This chapter explores the legal, social, and cultural meanings of rape throughout US history from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. It includes discussions of feminist activism, rape culture, racism, and the overall relationships between social power and sexual power. While legal treatment of sexual violence has changed over time, the ability for powerful men to coerce less powerful women into sexual acts remains a remarkably consistent feature of America’s social, economic, and cultural past and present.

Keywords: rape, sexual violence, race, women’s history, African American, Native American, crime, legal history

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.