Race-Specific Gender Equality and Rape: A Further Test of Feminist Hypotheses

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Department or Administrative Unit

Law and Justice

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Feminists have long argued that structural inequality between men and women influences the prevalence of rape. The patriarchal maintenance hypothesis predicts that gender inequality increases rape, while gender equality ameliorates rape (Whaley and Messner 2002). Alternatively, the backlash hypothesis predicts that gender equality exacerbates the rape problem (Russell 1975; Williams and Holmes 1981). To date, no study has explored this relationship with respect to race. In the present study, we use a cross-sectional design with racially disaggregated census and crime data in order to assess the differences among White and Black women in terms of their status along educational, employment, income, and occupational dimensions, and their risk of victimization. The findings indicate that the relationship between equality and rape is masked in the model that includes all women, but becomes apparent in the race specific models.


This article was originally published in Critical Criminology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Critical Criminology


© 2004 Kluwer Law International