The Injustices of Rape

How Activists Responded to Sexual Violence, 1950–1980

By Catherine O. Jacquet

272 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5386-0
    Published: November 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4872-7
    Published: September 2019
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5385-3
    Published: November 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-5387-7
    Published: September 2019

Gender and American Culture

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From 1950 to 1980, activists in the black freedom and women's liberation movements mounted significant campaigns in response to the injustices of rape. These activists challenged the dominant legal and social discourses of the day and redefined the political agenda on sexual violence for over three decades. How activists framed sexual violence--as either racial injustice, gender injustice, or both--was based in their respective frameworks of oppression. The dominant discourse of the black freedom movement constructed rape primarily as the product of racism and white supremacy, whereas the dominant discourse of women's liberation constructed rape as the result of sexism and male supremacy. In The Injustices of Rape, Catherine O. Jacquet is the first to examine these two movement responses together, explaining when and why they were in conflict, when and why they converged, and how activists both upheld and challenged them. Throughout, she uses the history of antirape activism to reveal the difficulty of challenging deeply ingrained racist and sexist ideologies, the unevenness of reform, and the necessity of an intersectional analysis to combat social injustice.

About the Author

Catherine O. Jacquet is assistant professor of history and women’s and gender studies at Louisiana State University.
For more information about Catherine O. Jacquet, visit the Author Page.


“The first comprehensive study that examines the black freedom and women’s liberation movements’ responses to rape alongside one other. . . . The Injustices of Rape is equally relevant as an introduction to antirape activism as well as a deep dive that will further the knowledge of experts and advocates. Jacquet’s book raises as many questions about our present as it does about the past.”--Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work

"[A] masterful study of the gendered and racialized dynamics in modern antirape activism."--The Journal of African American History

“Students and scholars studying intersectionality, gender studies, race and ethnic studies, and social movements would all benefit from Jacquet’s intersectional reframing of the twentieth-century history of two major movements that, in our own day, need each other more than ever.” --Journal of the History of Sexuality

"In recasting the history of antirape activism from 1950 to 1980, Jacquet shows that the feminist antirape movement and the history of black women's protest for bodily integrity are hardbound together and linked in theories, practices, and legacies."--Danielle L. McGuire, author of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance

"Building on the dual frameworks of both racial and gender justice movements, this book fills an important gap in the historiography on sexual violence and political responses to it. Jacquet's use of primary print and archival sources to ground the history, coupled with the multiplicity of actors and the care she takes to avoid overgeneralization, make this an extremely important work of scholarship."--Estelle B. Freedman, author of Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation