During the 1970s, feminist antirape activists articulated and employed a variety of strategies in response to sexual violence. While many activists sought state-based solutions such as law reform, there were significant currents within feminist organizing that rejected and fiercely contested any reliance on the state. Amongst these were feminist calls for physical resistance and extrajudicial retaliation in response to rape—methods that refuted the state's role as the sole arbiter in cases of rape, and rather claimed that role for women themselves. These critical yet often overlooked strategies offer a necessary and more comprehensive understanding of antirape activism at the time. In pursuing and suggesting such methods, feminists created politically meaningful narratives that sought to change how women thought about themselves and the power they had in their own lives.
1 October 2016
Catherine O. Jacquet; Fighting Back, Claiming Power: Feminist Rhetoric and Resistance to Rape in the 1970s. Radical History Review 1 October 2016; 2016 (126): 71–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-3594421
Download citation file: