Legal Responses to Rape

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Four Case Studies


Rape is an egregious violation of human dignity. At its most basic level, rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse via physical threat or psychological coercion. The effects of rape, however, go beyond the actual physical trauma. It is an attack on a person s self-esteem, autonomy, integrity, security, and even his or her humanity. Although effects of rape are not limited to women, they are disproportionately targeted. Violence against women in the form of rape is not a new phenomenon. But only recently have governments and legal bodies begun to acknowledge and address the impunity surrounding these crimes, and the necessity for response and change.

Rape occurs in a variety of contexts- in the home, in the community, and by representatives of the state. This project examines the incidence of rape in four specific contexts. Each case study presents an overview of the incident, and then focuses on the acknowledgment of the crime and the legal approaches that have been undertaken through formal institutions to address these events.

Through increased understanding and awareness about these four issues, individuals, organizations, and governments can begin to acknowledge the prevalence of rape in different eras and settings, work to prevent sexual violations, prosecute perpetrators, and provide support and restitution to survivors.

Japanese Comfort Women

Rape During the Breakup of the Former Yugoslavia

Nevadan Brothels as a Model for Response to Rape in Prostitution

Subic Bay Rape Case