Review of The Injustices of Rape: How Activists Responded to Sexual Violence, 1950–1980 by Catherine O. Jacquet

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Book Review

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Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians




Two familiar histories inform Catherine O. Jacquet’s The Injustices of Rape, which analyzes campaigns for the reform of rape law between 1950 and 1980. The first is the story of the civil rights movement’s attack on the use of rape law to target black men with legal (and, of course, extralegal) violence. In this story, the law of rape was a key tool by which the legal system reinforced racial hierarchy. Roughly coincident with this story was that of the feminist movement’s attack on rape as a reinforcer of gender hierarchy and on the legal system’s complicity in that crime through the structure of rape doctrine and the failures of police, prosecutors, and courts to enforce the law. Jacquet deepens and reorients these two familiar stories by viewing them together through the lens of intersectionality.

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