Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Anti-Sexual Violence Activists' Understandings of the Impact of the Intersections of Race and Gender on the Development of the Anti-Rape Movement in the US, 1970-Present
by Johnson-Riley, Jenny L., Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2020, 210; 28030876
Abstract (Summary)

The “Me Too” movement has brought increased attention to the prevalence of sexual violence in the US, but there has been little public recognition of the 50 years of anti-rape activism that made #metoo possible. The current anti-rape movement emerged from the women’s liberation movement of the mid-20th century. Early anti-rape activists embraced an understanding of the institutional racism and misogyny that made widespread sexual violence possible. The success of the movement led to its institutionalization. By the mid-1980s, many activists had shifted their systemic analysis of sexual violence to an analysis that was limited to the impact of sexual assault on individual survivors. Through this transition, the movement’s focus on misogyny and racism was largely lost. The purpose of the study was to understand the factors that led to this loss.

The findings show that the anti-rape movement has had an unsteady relationship to issues of racial justice over the past 50 years. At times, anti-rape activists have articulated an anti-racist, anti-colonial analysis of sexual violence and created movement initiatives that reflected this analysis. At other times, especially when the movement struggled to maintain a public awareness of sexual violence as a legitimate public health and human rights issue, predominantly white groups within the movement abandoned their analysis of race. The findings also suggest that the movement is currently struggling to balance the gains made by the “Me Too” movement with the challenges presented by the undermining of Title IX, protections for undocumented survivors, and the Violence Against Women Act by Donald Trump and his administration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Okazawa-Rey, Margo
Commitee: Schapiro, Stephen, Gallegos, Placida V., Kaviani, Christina, Kanuha, Val Kalei
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: School for Leadership Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, History, Political science
Keywords: 20th century feminist activism, Anti-rape movement, Intersectionality, Violence against women
Publication Number: 28030876
ISBN: 9798664733563
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