Tag: Sexual assault

Why It’s Bad When It’s “Not That Bad”

When then-Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women this past November, I braced myself for the backlash. I grew up in Minnesota, so my social media threads were filled with Franken-loving Minnesotans begging him not to resign and castigating his accusers for blowing their experiences out of proportion. One friend of… Read more →

The Stain of Slavery is Silencing Sexual Violence Against Black and Brown Women

I am an American woman who has never experienced sexual assault, rape, or coercion. Bully for me, right? This detail of my life is only notable because, among women in this county, I am in the minority. The Department of Justice reported in 2015 that there was an average of 321,500 reported cases of sexual… Read more →

“Instruction which she should avoid”: Reflections on 1830s Theater Manager Thomas Hamblin in the #MeToo Era

In June 1838, actress Josephine Clifton canceled an engagement in Lexington, KY and rushed back to New York “in a state of mind bordering on distraction.”1 Her sixteen-year-old sister Louisa Missouri Miller, who had recently debuted on the same New York Bowery stage where Clifton’s own career began, was dead, as the coroner later determined,… Read more →

“There Had Been No Penetration:” Male Surgeons’ Roles in Defining Rape in Eighteenth-Century England

In July of 1715, when Mary Marsh was asked about the details of her rape, she claimed that “the Prisoner threw her upon the Bed, press’d her very hard, and put something into her, but was so modest she would not declare what.”1 When two medical surgeons “depos’d that there had been no penetration,” William… Read more →

#MeToo and the Massage Envy Scandal: Looking Back and Beyond

“Massage brings all the weirdos out of the woodwork. I mean real sick people who have problems,” massage therapist Kathleen Dynes told the Los Angeles Times in 1978, explaining she could understand why a local homeowners association boycotted her fledgling suburban massage business, despite her best efforts to make the office, where her mother also… Read more →

On Doors Open and Shut: Sex and Power Yet Again

One day last week, literally as I sat down in a shared meeting room to write this post, a senior male colleague “joked” that my arrival meant that we “better keep the door open” to avoid problems like those in the news. In that same twenty-four hour period, three female colleagues shared their fraught experiences… Read more →

Male Jealousy & Questions of Sexual Honor: A Look at Historical Cases of Domestic Murder in Ireland

At present in Ireland, a Domestic Violence Bill is rumbling its way through the Irish parliament, a welcome albeit overdue development. Louise Crowley has noted that failures to enshrine domestic violence as a discrete criminal offense have gone hand-in-hand with Ireland’s historic reluctance to intervene in such cases. A look at gendered violence in Ireland,… Read more →

Teaching Rape

Throughout my academic career, I have talked about, read about, and taught about rape. To be clear, rape is not my research focus. Murder is my bailiwick. Within that context, rape features peripherally as an adjunct to another crime. But I have read about, discussed, and now teach about rape because I believe it is… Read more →

Dispatches from Rio: Rape in Rio de Janeiro

This is the first of several pieces we will run about the city of Rio de Janeiro in the lead-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics. On May 21, 2016 a sixteen-year-old girl was gang-raped in a favela in the Eastern zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During a party in the favela, a group of… Read more →