Rape and respectability: ideas about sexual violence and social class

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Phipps, Alison (2009)

Women on low incomes are disproportionately represented among sexual violence survivors, yet feminist research on this topic has paid very little attention to social class. This article blends recent research on class, gender and sexuality with what we know about sexual violence. It is argued that there is a need to engage with classed distinctions between women in terms of contexts for and experiences of sexual violence, and to look at interactions between pejorative constructions of working-class sexualities and how complainants and defendants are perceived and treated. The classed division between the sexual and the feminine, drawn via the notion of respectability, is applied to these issues. This piece is intended to catalyse further research and debate, and raises a number of questions for future work on sexual violence and social class.
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