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Slow Motion pp 196–226Cite as

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The Belly of the Beast (II): Explaining Male Violence

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Abstract

‘I have never been free of the fear of rape,’ Susan Griffin declared in a memorable article in the radical Californian magazine Ramparts back in 1971, adding: ‘I never asked why men raped; I simply thought it one of the many mysteries of human nature.’1 Decades later, decades during which feminists have repeatedly asked the question, devoting books and articles to finding the answer — the puzzle of men’s cruelty to women remains only just a little less mysterious. Griffin herself had an answer. In patriarchal culture, she argued, the basic elements of rape are present in all heterosexual relationships: ‘If the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual, it — may be mainly a quantitative difference.’2 Men in our culture are taught and encouraged to rape women as the symbolic expression of male power. Rape serves as ‘a kind of terrorism’ enabling men to control women and make them dependent: ‘Rape is the quintessential act of our civilization.’3

Keywords

  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Violence

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Notes

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© 2007 Lynne Segal

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Segal, L. (2007). The Belly of the Beast (II): Explaining Male Violence. In: Slow Motion. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230582521_9

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