Herstory – Power Point

Women’s resistance to violence
Hundreds of years ago
The origins of the word rape are found in ancient
Greece: to steal.
England: (beginning 1154), women were allowed
to bring suit against their rapist as long as they
were not married to him and were virgins.
It was also during the reign of Henry II that
defenses against rape were developed.
England: (beginning 1307), rape laws
acknowledged that a non-virgin woman could be
forcibly raped, but only by a non-spouse.
White Europeans bring sexual violence
against Native women.
African women enslaved were often raped
by white men. Black men accused of
raping white women lynched.
Memphis Riot of May 1866.
First Wave
In 1848 the first Women’s Rights
Convention was organized.
 Sojourner Truth’s legendary declaration
“Ain’t I a Woman?” in 1851.
 Temperance movement
 Ida B. Wells takes leadership roles in
organizing anti-lynching campaigns.
Second Wave
 Civil Rights, Gay Rights and Anti-War
 Women began a formalized response to
SA and DV
 Re-frame sexual and domestic violence as
a societal problem rather than personal
 Early rape crisis centers
 Self-defense classes
 “Take back the night” marches
Second Wave
Rape became a topic for academic research
Limited federal and state funding became
available to programs.
Pervasiveness of child sexual abuse and
acquaintance rape began to be exposed.
Legislative change: criminalization of marital rape
in most states
First civil suit was won by a battered woman,
Sexual harassment was declared illegal
Professionalization and Legitimization
 Backlash began in the 1980’s
 National and statewide organizations
 Violence against women declared as a
human rights violation by the UN
 Congress passed the Violence Against
Women Act in 1994
 Court supported programs to treat sex
offenders and batterers increased.
Rape survivors sexual history cannot be used to
discredit them in court.
Acquaintance rape has gained greater visibility.
Rape crisis centers are still standing.
Laws continue to change in favor of survivors.
Men’s assumption of power over women has been
Survivors have greater resources.
Sexual assault rates have declined in recent
Pushed to the margins
Mainstream feminism did not work for all
women, particularly for women of color.
 Middle-class white women driving this
political activism.
 Women are still blamed for the violence
they suffer.
 Our media continues to showcase violence
and sexism.
So what?
What implications does this have for YOU
as advocates?
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