Historicising the perpetrators of sexual violence : global perspectives from the modern world

Beecher, Ruth and Wright, Stephanie (2023) Historicising the perpetrators of sexual violence : global perspectives from the modern world. Women's History Review, 7. pp. 1-12. ISSN 0961-2025

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This special issue seeks to re-situate perpetrators at the heart of discussions of sexually coercive behaviour. Acts of sexual aggression are intrinsically connected to historically contingent gender dynamics, as well as by social structures which foster the circumstances for sexual assault. In a wide range of geopolitical contexts, the perpetrators of sexual violence have been protected by ineffective and intrusive police, prosecution and court systems which ultimately place the burden of proof on victims, and by patriarchal social structures in which aggressors are more likely to occupy positions of power which can be exploited with impunity. Our contributors come from varied disciplinary backgrounds, including anthropology, sociology, media studies and history to explore perceptions and characteristics of sexual perpetrators in a range of geographical and cultural contexts. Throughout their work, the term ‘perpetrator’ emerges as both the individual agent of crime as well as the institutions, social structures, and discourses which facilitate and accommodate sexual violence. By recognising the historical contingency of sexual perpetrators, we eschew essentialising worldviews which present sexual harm as natural and immutable.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Women's History Review
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sexual violenceperpetratorsrapeordinary rapistssecond rapehistorygender studies ??
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Deposited On:
05 Jun 2023 13:05
Last Modified:
19 Jul 2024 01:00