In Redefining Rape, Professor Estelle Freedman of Stanford University explores not only the ways in which rape has defined citizenship throughout American history but also how aspiring citizens have tried, repeatedly, to redefine rape. Long before second-wave feminists adopted an anti-rape platform, generations of women’s rights and racial-justice advocates rejected the narrow understanding of rape as a brutal attack on a chaste, unmarried, white woman by a stranger, often depicted as a black man.
Freedman shows how these critiques exposed the ways that white men's freedom to be sexually coercive or violent lay at the heart of their political power. The modern civil rights and feminist movements, she points out, continue to grapple with both the insights and the dilemmas of these first campaigns to redefine rape in American law and culture.
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