Real Rape, Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners
Patricia L. Easteal
University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice
REAL RAPE, REAL PAIN: HELP FOR WOMEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY MALE PARTNERS, Hybrid Publishers, 2006
Based on interviews with thirty women, as well as the personal experiences of the authors, this book explores the barriers to reporting partner rape. Partner rape is often not recognised or named as assault, both from fear of the repercussions from the perpetrator of disclosing the abuse, and fear that others will minimise or disbelieve the disclosure of abuse, which leads to a reluctance to report sexual assault in relationships. The book is written, as the authors put it, 'for, not about' women. While primarily intended for women who have experienced or are experiencing rape by a partner, it frames the problem of partner rape as a social problem, not just as a problem of individual women. The book is organised around three main themes: healing, identifying sexual assaults, and confronting society's denial, as well as the related theme of naming partner rape. The authors argue that the difficulty that victim/survivors spoke of in naming partner rape as 'real rape' is compounded by society's denial. What is especially important about this book is the recognition of the complex issues facing women who are sexually assaulted by male partners. It validates the traumatic and abusive nature of partner abuse, and challenges many of the myths that deny or minimise the harm caused by this form of sexual assault. The inclusion of women's stories (including some detailed accounts of abuse) and the jargon-free style make it widely accessible.
Keywords: partner rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault
JEL Classification: K14
Date posted: October 30, 2010