Sex without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America

Sex without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America

by Merril D. Smith

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A group of men rape an intoxicated fifteen year old girl to "make a woman of her." An immigrant woman is raped after accepting a ride from a stranger. A young mother is accosted after a neighbor escorts her home. In another case, a college frat party is the scene of the crime. Although these incidents appear similar to accounts one can read in the newspapers almost any day in the United States, only the last one occurred in this century. Each, however, involved a woman or girl compelled to have sex against her will.
Sex without Consent explores the experience, prosecution, and meaning of rape in American history from the time of the early contact between Europeans and Native Americans to the present. By exploring what rape meant in particular times and places in American history, from interracial encounters due to colonization and slavery to rape on contemporary college campuses, the contributors add to our understanding of crime and punishment, as well as to gender relations, gender roles, and sexual politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814738214
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2002
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 380
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Merril D. Smith is the editor of Sex and Sexuality in Early America and Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830. She lives in National Park, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Studying Rape in American History1
1"None of the Women Were Abused": Indigenous Contexts for the Treatment of Women Captives in the Northeast10
2"Playing the Rogue": Rape and Issues of Consent in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts27
3Sexual Consent and Sexual Coercion in Seventeenth-Century Virginia46
4Coerced Sex and Gendered Violence in New Netherland61
5Rape, Law, Courts, and Custom in Pennsylvania, 1682-180081
6"The Law Should Be Her Protector": The Criminal Prosecution of Rape in Upper Canada, 1791-1850103
7"I Was Very Much Wounded": Rape Law, Children, and the Antebellum South136
8"A Most Detestable Crime": Character, Consent, and Corroboration in Vermont's Rape Law, 1850-1920178
9"In the Marriage Bed Woman's Sex Has Been Enslaved and Abused": Defining and Exposing Marital Rape in Late-Nineteenth-Century America204
10Race, Honor, Citizenship: The Massie Rape/Murder Case230
11"Another Negro-Did-It Crime": Black-on-White Rape and Protest in Virginia, 1945-1960247
12Sexual Coercion and Limited Choices: Their Link to Teen Pregnancy and Welfare265
13Rape on Campus: Numbers Tell Less Than Half the Story283

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Needed historical perspective . . . thorough documentation . . . excellent."

- Library Journal,

"The book provides some very interesting examples of early legal standards for prosecuting rape charges and charges of child sexual abuse in the United States."

-Archives of Sexual Behavior,

"Merril Smith's edited volume provides numerous articles that will be of great worth to the historical and feminist communities. The range or articles in this volume goes beyond the usual "hotspots" while still allowing for important comparisons."

-Journal of Social History

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