CfP for special issue: ‘Historicising the perpetrators of sexual violence: global perspectives’
Sexual violence remains one of the world’s most under-reported crimes. Victims who press charges are often subjected to painful scrutiny of their own behaviour and personal lives by medical personnel, juridical authorities and the media. Survivors of sexual violence have described their frustration at the legal process, which seems to place them rather than their attackers on trial: ‘…I feel like I was given the life sentence that he deserves’. Academic scholarship has highlighted the inadequacies of police and criminal justice systems around the world when it comes to prosecuting sexual crimes (Temkin, 1992; Corrigan, 2013). In particular, court proceedings are frequently influenced by a number of all-pervasive rape myths which place the burden of responsibility for sexual violence on the failure of victims to protect themselves (Brownmiller, 1975; Bourke, 2007). At the same time, well-meaning attempts to recognise the trauma experienced by rape victims or to empower women through the use of anti-rape technologies can reinforce emphasis on the victim as the site of rape prevention, thus displacing male responsibility for sexual violence (Mardorossian, 2002; White and McMillan, 2019).
Though it transcends historical periods, sexual violence is not inevitable or ahistorical. The perpetration, policing, and prosecution of sexual aggression are shaped by historically contingent myths and assumptions, as well as by social structures which foster the circumstances for sexual assault. Historically, the perpetrators of sexual violence have often been . . .