In this Article, we attempt to formulate a new theoretical framework for the analysis of male rape, a phenomenon that has been neglected by legal and jurisprudential scholarship for a long time. We dispute common perceptions of male rape, most notably the centrality of consent in rape discourse, and show how male and female rape myths, while distinct, are upheld by similar paradigms of gender. Although it focuses on male rape, the Article proposes a broad theory of rape and gender. The Article offers a comparative review of the scholarship on male rape in two settings: the community and prison. It collates the various studies on male rape in these settings, classifies the main elements of male rape, and points to the interrelations between the various scholarly works. Based on the comparison, the Article develops a sixfold framework containing three recurring and three missing themes. The recurring themes are otherness—the construction of male rape as something that occurs to others, at the margins of society; masculinity—pivotal for the understanding of male rape; and the embeddedness of male rape in social power relations. The three missing themes are consent—possibly the most discussed aspect in current theories of female rape but hardly elaborated with respect to male victims; racial aspects of male rape in the community; and female perpetrators of male rape. The burgeoning literature on male rape dwells mostly on the first three themes. The Article argues that a meaningful theory of male rape requires further study of the missing themes. The sixfold analytical framework suggested in this Article can assist in identifying blind spots in the academic discourse, accurately conceptualizing this phenomenon, and offering a better general understanding of it. It is also a first step toward the creation of a more inclusive and general theory of rape that accounts for sexual abuse of all victims, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or other social traits.
|Number of pages||49|
|Journal||Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology|
|State||Published - 2023|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
* Orna Alyagon-Darr is an Associate Professor of Law and President’s Gender Equity and Diversity Advisor in Sapir Academic College. Ruthy Lowenstein Lazar is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean of the Haim Striks Faculty of Law at the College of Management (COLMAN). Both authors contributed equally. We thank Deborah Tuerkheimer, Tasseli McKay, and Michal Buchhandler-Raphael for their insightful comments. We are also grateful to Chen Avidar, Orit Gan, Daphna Hacker, Frances Raday, and Zvi Triger for their valuable comments on previous drafts, and to participants at the Sapir College and COLMAN colloquia, the 2021 Annual Conference of the Israeli Criminal Law Association in Tel Aviv, the 2022 Annual Conference of the Israeli Victimology Association in Yezreel Valley, and the 2022 LSA annual meeting in Lisbon. We are thankful for the constructive and insightful comments of the anonymous reviewers. Finally, we thank Lior Alona Goldman for able research assistance, and the Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights for financial support.
© 2023 by Orna Alyagon-Darr & Ruthy Lowenstein Lazar.
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