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Amid #MeToo, Researchers Examine Marital Rape as Abuse at SAR Advanced Seminar

Oct 16, 2018

Since the 1970s sociologist Kersti Yllö has been working in area of sexual assault that receives little attention. In 2016, she and anthropologist M. Gabriela Torres published an edited volume of new research addressing the topic. Marital Rape: Consent, Marriage and Social Change in Global Context (Oxford) gathers the perspectives of twenty-two contributors for what the editors summarize as “an international and interdisciplinary approach to the study of sex and gender-based violence.”

Now, thanks to generous support from the Vera R. Campbell Foundation, Yllö and Torres have come together with eight other scholars for a week at the Douglas Schwartz Seminar House as one of this year’s Advanced Seminars at SAR.

Yllö explores the topic’s history and its importance in the contemporary social and political environment in a recent article:

“For all the public attention to #MeToo, we have not heard one peep about marital rape,” Yllö said … “If it feels shameful to women to say that a guy jumped on them in high school, it’s much more difficult to acknowledge or talk about experiencing this with your husband.” Yllö paraphrased a line from License to Rape in order to highlight the seriousness of such a distinction: “When you’ve been raped by a stranger, you live with a frightening memory. When you’ve been raped by your husband, you live with your rapist … Marital rape is the lynchpin of the patriarchy — the most personal way in which men still own women’s bodies.” Read the full Pasatiempo article online …

Join SAR on Thursday, October 18, for a panel discussion with the scholars on their current research. Learn more and register here.

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