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4 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 479 (1996-1997)
Without Narrative: Child Sexual Abuse

handle is hein.journals/vajsplw4 and id is 487 raw text is: WITHOUT NARRATIVE: CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Lynne Henderson*
The more painful, dramatic, and overwhelming the narrative, the
more tense, wary, and self-protective is the audience, the quicker
the instinct to withdraw. '
Feminists have been rewriting the stories of harms to women in law
for some time now, drawing on the experiences of women, as well as nu-
merous empirical studies, to define and expand understanding of the
harms created by sexual violence and exploitation.2 But as feminists may
suspect from their experiences with rape law and law reform efforts, the
criminal law continues to disadvantage the relatively powerless and per-
petuate the dominant ideologies of the powerful. Resistance to effective
change and to understanding sexualized violence exists even when strong
*  Professor of Law, Indiana University--Bloomington. I thank Linda Alis, Donna Coker,
Mary Coombs, Donald Ehrman, Karla Fischer, Jaqueline MacCauley, Manie Mahoney,
Aviva Orenstein, Michael Wald, Catharine Wells, Robin West, Susan Williams, Stephanie
Wildman, and Robert Weisberg, for discussing aspects of this paper and for their encour-
agement, interest, and helpful comments. I also benefited from comments on presentations
at the Northwestern Feminist Symposium in 1994, the Law & Society Association 1995
Annual Meeting, and a Stanford faculty works-in-progress luncheon. Special thanks also to
Indiana University School of Law for providing summer research support and Paul Lomio
of the Stanford Law Library for his typical, yet extraordinary, assistance. For other very
special and appreciated support, many thanks to Alan Lagod, Marnie Mahoney, Susan Sig-
norella, and Robert Weisberg. All errors are mine alone.
I  Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies 20 (1991). I thank Carol Sanger for intro-
ducing me to Langer's work.
2 The literature on sexual violence is now voluminous. See generally, Law and Violence
Against Women (Mary Louise Fellows & Beverly Balos eds., 1994); Catharine MacKinnon,
Feminism Unmodified (1987); Diana Russell, Rape in Marriage (1990); Diana Russell, The
Politics of Rape: The Victim's Perspective (1975); Kimberle Crenshaw, Mapping the Mar-
gins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, 43 Stan. L.
Rev. 1241 (1991); Susan Estrich, Rape, 95 Yale L.J. 1087 (1986); Robin West, The Differ-
ence in Women's Hedonic Lives: A Phenomenological Critique of Feminist Legal Theory, 3
Wis. Women's L.J. 81 (1987) [hereinafter The Difference in Women's Hedonic Lives].

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