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30 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 459 (1996-1997)
What's Rightfully Ours: Toward a Property Theory of Rape

handle is hein.journals/collsp30 and id is 473 raw text is: What's Rightfully Ours: Toward A
Property Theory of Rape
ALEXANDRA WALD-
I. INTRODUCTION
Women's sexuality is, socially, a thing to be stolen, sold,
bought, bartered, or exchanged by others. But women never
own or possess it, and men never treat it, in law or in life,
with the solicitude with which they treat property.1
Rape entered the law through the back door ... as a
property crime of man against man.2
Victims of rape receive neither the respect nor the credence the
justice system accords victims of property crimes.' This dis-
crepancy is ironic in that the law of rape has been inseparable
from the law of property since the recognition of rape as a crime in
* Staff -Member, Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs., 1995--96. The Author would like to
acknowledge the helpful comments of Professor Carol Sanger, Lewis Farberman, and the
Journal staff. She thanks her family for their warm encouragement and Adam Gimbel for
his unswerving support.
1. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State 172 (1989).
2. Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape 18 (1975).
3. Many feminist legal scholars have commented on the privileged status of the victim
of property over that of the victim of rape. See, e.g., Susan Estrich, Palm Beach Stories, 11
Law & Phil. 5, 10 (1992) ('[N]o one rve talked to - radio callers, prosecutors, and judges
alike - would extend the assumption of risk approach [applied to rape victims] to people
who walk alone on dangerous streets at night and get mugged, or people who forget to lock
their cars or leave the back windows of their houses wide open.); Catharine MacKinnon,
Feminist Approaches to Sexual Assault in Canada and the United States: A Brief Retro-
spective, in Challenging Times: The Women's Movement in Canada and the United States
189 (Constance Backhouse & David H. Flaherty eds., 1992) (Say you are walking down the
street and somebody jumps you and takes your money. The law does not assume you were
a walking philanthropist, nor do the police inquire how many times this has happened to
you, or whether you gave to United Charities last week.); Robin Warshaw, I Never Called
It Rape 22 (1988) (NA] company is not 'asking for it' when its profits are embezzled; a store
owner is not to blame for handing over the cash drawer when threatened.).

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