Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 5
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Baron, Marcia 2018. Criticism and Compassion. p. 269.

    Card, Claudia 2018. Criticism and Compassion. p. 11.

    Baron, Marcia 2016. Hate Crime Legislation Reconsidered. Metaphilosophy, Vol. 47, Issue. 4-5, p. 504.

    McGregor, Joan 2013. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

    HURLEY, ELISA A. 2010. Pharmacotherapy to Blunt Memories of Sexual Violence: What's a Feminist to Think?. Hypatia, Vol. 25, Issue. 3, p. 527.

  • Print publication year: 1991
  • Online publication date: June 2012

12 - Rape as a terrorist institution



A feminist critic in the United States argued recently tha “while rape is very bad indeed, the work that most women employed outside the home are compelled to do is more seriously harmful insofar as doing such work damages the most fundamental interests of the victim, what Joel Feinberg calls ‘welfare interests,’ whereas rape typically does not.” This judgment takes rape as an individual act, ignoring its relationship to institutional rules and thereby its terrorism implications. Rape, as an institution, has severe consequences both for women raped and for women terrorized into compliance. It underlies women's willingness to do whatever work men find suitable for women to do. So understood rape indeed damages women's fundamental interests though information on it is less public than (other) information on working conditions in the paid labor force.

The term “terrorism” as used in public media suggests a kind of political activity, often with international significance focused on the powers of states or other territorial governments. The restriction to territorial politics, however, ignores the terrorism of sexual politics. Ethically, that exclusion is arbitrary and irresponsible. It maintains an invisibility of routine violence against women, underlying visible sexis stereotypes.

Rape and domestic violence are both forms of terrorism a backdrop to the daily lives of women in sexist societies. It this essay I take up only the institution of rape. The philosophical significance of treating rape as a form of terrorism is twofold.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Violence, Terrorism, and Justice
  • Online ISBN: 9780511625039
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *