Feminist Analysis of Sexual Violence

Taken from Mariangela Di Domenico, La violence faite aux femmes: à travers les agressions à caractère sexuel, (Quebec City: Conseil du statut de la femme, 1995)

This paper will discuss some of the theoretical foundations of various feminists’ analysis on male violence against women. These feminists were the first to analyze sexual violence against women from a socio-political perspective. They alerted the public to a problem which, prior to their work, had received scant attention. What little information there had been, was presented through the lens of psycho-biological determinism. Due to the theoretical nature and complexity of the analysis found in the feminist literature, we have had to limit ourselves to the key events. Also, we have chosen to focus on certain authors we judged to be particularly significant. Because feminism is a practice as well as a theory, it is clear that a study of the writing on its own will provide only a glimpse of the scope and richness of the analysis developed by this movement.

This paper is divided into sections that group authors representing the major currents of feminist analysis of male violence. During the 70s, for example, writers accorded a predominant role to socio-political structures; since the 80s, a more global vision has emerged, in which sexuality, the construction of heterosexuality and the social control of women constitute the main elements.

Read excerpts from the paper here

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