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Women′s awareness of the threat and reality of sexual violence is now perhaps more than ever publicly acknowledged. Yet this fact continues to be almost wholly ignored. This new study, based on in–depth interviews with 60 women, is the first to cover the experience of a range of forms of sexual violence over women′s lifetimes. Drawing on feminist theory, developing a critique of male research and quoting extensively from the women interviewed, it developes feminist thought in several key areas: the similarities and differences between forms of sexual violence; the ways women define their experiences; and the strategies women use in resisting, coping with and surviving sexual violence. The author stresses the importance for all women of recognizing the incidents of sexual violence in their lives and seeing themselves and other women as survivors rather than victims. In highlighting the ways in which the media, the criminal justice system and even the "helping" profess ions contribute to the trivialization of sexual violence, she demonstrates the necessity of women organizing collectively to end this suffering.
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