Up Against a Wall: Rape Reform and the Failure of Success

Up Against a Wall: Rape Reform and the Failure of Success

by Rose Corrigan

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Rape law reform has long been hailed as one of the most successful projects of second-wave feminism. Yet forty years after the anti-rape movement emerged, legal and medical institutions continue to resist implementing reforms intended to provide more just and compassionate legal and medical responses to victims of sexual violence. In Up Against a Wall, Rose Corrigan draws on interviews with over 150 local rape care advocates in communities across the United States to explore how and why mainstream systems continue to resist feminist reforms.

In a series of richly detailed case studies, the book weaves together scholarship on law and social movements, feminist theory, policy formation and implementation, and criminal justice to show how the innovative legal strategies employed by anti-rape advocates actually undermined some of their central claims. But even as its more radical elements were thwarted, pieces of the rape law reform project were seized upon by conservative policy-makers and used to justify new initiatives that often prioritize the interests and rights of criminal justice actors or medical providers over the needs of victims.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814708231
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 01/07/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Rose Corrigan is Associate Professor of Law and Politics at Drexel University. In addition to holding degrees from Bryn Mawr College and Rutgers University—New Brunswick, she was a direct service provider in the fields of sexual and domestic violence for more than ten years.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: The Failure of Success 2. The Anti-Rape Movement and the Turn to Law 3. Listening to Rape Care Advocates 4. Institutional Responses to Rape: Following the “Leaky Pipeline” of Rape Reporting5. Developing the Body of Evidence: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs 6. When Rights Are Wrong: Emergency Contraception and the Failure of Policy Success 7. When Is a Rapist a Sex Offender?: Sex Offender Registration and Notification Statutes 8. Fleeing from Feminism: The Troubled Legacy of Rape Law Reform Notes Bibliography Index About the Author 

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

At last, a comprehensive and scholarly account of the antirape movement that should sound the alarm at how little law in action has changed, despite policy successes with rape law on the books. Corrigan’s searing analysis makes a major contribution to political science, sociology, law, and public policy. Following Patricia Yancey Martin’s organizational analysis of why rape policy reforms have so little effect on priorities, the treatment of victims, prosecutions, convictions, and public attitudes, Corrigan reveals how a social movement has lost its ability to advocate effectively. This must read for all who care about women’s equality should sound the alarm to turn our attention to policy implementation and social movement mobilization."-Sally J. Kenney,Tulane University

"In an era when gender mainstreaming is hailed globally as the primary tactic to achieve gender equality, Rose Corrigan offers a cautionary tale. By focusing on rape law reform over four decades, she demonstrates how feminist policy objectives are systemically undercut by bureaucratic intransigence and standard operating procedures within gendered state institutions. From legislatures and law enforcement agencies to rape crisis centers, she traces the evisceration of feminist transformative efforts as the law is deployed with little concern for the well-being of those who have been raped. This vital contribution to feminist theory and practice should be read by all concerned with social change in the 21st century."-Mary Hawkesworth,Professor of Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Professor Corrigan's book, Up Against a Wall: Rape Reform and the Failure of Success, is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about sexual violence and the failure of law reform to live up to the promise it once held for victims of sexual violence. It is also an invaluable tool for anyone concerned about the dynamics of law reform and legal consciousness. Using an empirical, qualitative study of Rape Crises Centers and counsellors in six diverse states as her framework, Corrigan engages in a multi-layered, nuanced examination of the history of rape law reform to demonstrate that reliance on the criminal justice system led to the loss of original feminist goals. She argues rape and sexual assault issues were abandoned by feminists who lost sight of the relationship of sexual assault to gender inequality as they moved on to other projects. She then turns to current issues that have produced perverse effects for victims. She challenges us to look for creative solutions outside the criminal law as well as within to problems she identifies and for a return to an emphasis on gender equality and real rights and protections for victims in this important book.-Lynne Henderson,Professor Emerita, University of Nevada Las Vegas

"Rose Corrigan has made a major contribution to our understanding of the way in which law reform efforts in theory can be subverted 'on the ground.' The book is thoughtful, well-written and has important insights for a variety of fields."-Elizabeth M. Schneider,Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

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