Liberal and radical feminist approaches to rape and rape law reform often display a victim/perpetrator framework. This framework presupposes perpetrator agency and empowerment, victim passivity and disempowerment, and that the harm of rape, which is always serious, flows only from the perpetrator to victim. Examining how this victim/perpetrator framework operates in two paradigmatic examples of acquaintance rape on college campuses, this Note contends that the victim/perpetrator framework may actually be damaging to the feminist rape reform project because it relies on an overly simplistic account of the operation of power in sexual violence that fails to consider the way that sex and gender are performative, denies the possibility of a multiplicity of experiences and perspectives within individual incidents of rape, and participates in the disempowerment and traumatization of rape victims.
As feminists, we should seek to resist such simple dichotomies. This Note concludes by proposing one possibility: an intersectional model of rape. The emerging use of restorative justice in some rape cases offers one example of what an intersectional model of rape might look like in practice.
The Victim/Perpetrator Framework in Feminist Theories of Rape 507.
A. The Liberal and Radical Feminist Approaches to Rape.
1. The Liberal Feminist Critique 513.
2. The Radical Feminist Critique 514.
B. Critiquing the Victim/Perpetrator Framework in.
Feminist Theories of Rape 516.
Perpetrators as Masculine Predators 518.
Harvard Law School, J.D. Candidate 2014. B.A. University of Oregon, 2006. MSc. University of Edinburgh, 2007. MSc. London School of Economics and Political Science, 2008. Many thanks to Laura Rosenbury for her excellent supervision of this paper. Thanks also to Janet Halley for her encouragement and helpful insights on the importance of resistance and empowerment in responses to rape. Thanks also to the board of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, especially to my editor Ariel Berkower, for the helpful feedback and long hours spent helping to bring this Note to its full potential.