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NCJ Number: 165504 Find in a Library
Title: Victims' Stories Can Build Compassion in Society (From America's Victims: Opposing Viewpoints, P 23-28, 1996, David Bender, Bruno Leone, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-165502)
Author(s): M T McCluskey
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Stories of victims can build empathy in American society by giving women and others a voice of authority in public debate, and women should use their stories to emphasize the need to balance individual rights and responsibilities.
Abstract: Violence against women tends to be invisible in the public eye, yet domestic violence, acquaintance rape, and sexual harassment casts women as inevitably damaged and vulnerable to male control. Instead of dismissing victim stories as individual whining that breeds division and cynicism or paternalistic protection, stories of the personal suffering of women can be used to build public empathy. Stories of women's sexual victimization can sometimes establish women as empowered and responsible individuals, particularly since the traditional stereotype of certain women as passive sexual victims is inseparable from the traditional stereotype about other women as sinister sexual agents. Critics of victim feminism argue that many women shrink from identifying with feminism because of the indignity of the victim role presented by feminists. Such critics, however, tend not to challenge the identification of victims of oppression as pathetic and impotent but instead aim to simply displace the traditional negative victim image. Victim stories alone are not transformative, just as they are not in themselves victimizing. Speaking out about personal pain should be viewed as an honorable way of asserting public power.
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Acquaintance rape; Domestic assault; Feminism; Role perception; Sexual harassment; Social cohesion; Social conditions; Victimization; Victims of violent crime; Women's rights
Note: Opposing Viewpoints Series
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