Challenging Contemporary Thinking
Edited by Miranda Horvath, Jennifer Brown
Willan – 2009 – 384 pages
Rape remains one of the most controversial issues within criminal justice and receives high profile coverage internationally. Despite the many changes there have been to the law, practice and procedure in the investigation of rape allegations, and support available for victims, victims are routinely blamed for their victimization. Only a very small number of perpetrators ever face prosecution, let alone conviction.
This book aims to take stock of current thinking and research about rape and the way it is handled in practice within the criminal justice system, and to challenge some of the widely held but inaccurate beliefs about rape. It brings together leading researchers in the field from psychology, sociology and law, considering new research and presenting new data from a strong theoretical and contextual base.
The main focus of the book is on adult victims of rape, with chapters exploring such issues as rape and the media, the use of alcohol and drugs in rape, police decision making on rape cases, conviction patterns in rape trials, and interviewing victims of rape and sexual assault.
'This is an excellent set of readings, sensitively edited, which add to our understanding of this difficult subject and challenge many preconceptions about it. Should be read by all the key professionals in the criminal justice system and by anyone engaged in current concerns and controversies.' – Professor Irene Hanson Frieze, University of Pittsburgh
'This is a thoughtful and provocative collection presenting an integrated overview of key issues in the sexual assault field – a brilliant resource for students, researchers, practitioners and anyone wanting to understand why justice for rape victims continues to be so elusive. It arises from passionate debates among the leading European researchers in the filed and will undoubtedly foster and inform international dialogue and developments for many years to come.' – Professor Jan Jordan, Victoria University of Wellington
' Miranda Horvath and Jennifer Brown and the contributors to this volume provide a compelling examination of the experience of rape from the perspective of survivors and bring to the fore the deeply-rooted systemic biases held by bystanders, police, prosecutors, and jurors. This book is mandatory reading for criminal justice professionals and others who respond to rape survivors in any capacity. it will challenge the complacency of all those who would have us believe that the battle for women's equality has been won.' – Dr Holly Johnson, University of Ottowa
'In successfully integrating a diversity of scholars and their approaches, what most usefully emerges is a new contemporary compendium of accounts and explorations of rape as a complex social constructed act of violence, around which women rarely receive any restorative justice.'
'This collection successfully does what it says on the tin…'
-Wulf Livingston, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Glyndwr University
'Rape: Challenging Contemporary Thinking is a well researched edited collection and a valuable contribution to the available literature on sexual assault.
One of the main strengths of this edited collection is that it is written by both criminal justice practitioners and academics from a variety of disciplines. As such, it provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges of combating attrition rates in sexual assault cases and the needs of the victim.
While numerous authors before have highlighted the problems victims encounter with police, prosecutors and the entire courtroom process, this volume may offer the hope of change with practical suggestions where practitioners and criminal justice practitioners work together in the field (even if collaboration only starts at conferences). As such, it is an important contribution to the area of research on rape and sexual assault.' – Jenny Wise, School of Behavioural Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
'This exceptional collection of essays draws together, for the first time, the most prominent and leading academic writers in the field delivering the most comprehensive and in-depth critique of current practice, policy and research relating to the prosecution of rape. Based on a series of seminars funded by the British Psychological Society 2005-7 which led to the Sexual Offences Research Initiative, the editors' aim is to tackle the longstanding issue of why rape is so difficult to prosecute with the view to developing 'interdisciplinary engagements that may provide a stronger conceptual basis for designing successful interventions to reduce the justice gap' (p.4). Many of the authors are well known, highly respected and require no introduction, not only within the academic community but amongst criminal justice professionals and government agencies. A number have made truly significant and major constructive contributions to public policy and debate in terms of highlighting and profiling the legal problem of rape and identifying now engrained conceptual markers and impact factors such as 'real rape' stereotypifications, the 'justice gap', 'juror attitudes,' 'police cultural scepticism' etc.. In sharing not only their current research methodologies and ideas, but generally providing summative overviews of their previous research with victims, investigators, legal professionals and mock jurors, this book is more than just a collection of contemporary perspectives but an invaluable reference compendium in all senses of the word.
The volume has the hallmark of a classic academic text that is and will remain requisite reading for all students studying aspects of sexual violence and one that all involved should be immensely proud of. It also provides an excellent template of how interdisciplinary texts can be successfully amalgamated to appear relatively seamless and work successfully across a range of disciplines - here law, criminology, social sciences, media studies etc and the home subject of both editors - psychology. To all those critics of interdisciplinarity - Go read!' – Dr Kim Stevenson, Internet Law Book Reviews. For a full copy of the review, please visit: http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/law/willan/willan2010.html
'Despite decades of feminist advocacy and awareness efforts aimed at breaking the silence surrounding sexual victimization, the rape of girls and women remains a worldwide public health problem (Koss and White 2008). Inspired by a series of seminars funded by the British Psychological Society, the collection "Rape: Challenging Contemporary Thinking" brings together a range of scholars from across Europe. The chapters explore why the public response to sexual violence often seems to pale in comparison to its prevalence (Breitenbecher 2000). In this diverse collection of readings, the authors provide a passionate and thoughtful illustration of the various personal and systemic biases that serve to promulgate rape, silence and further victimize survivors, and preclude justice for victims. Each contribution to the volume is unique in its focus, method, and practical application.' – Lindsay M. Orchowski For a full copy of the review, please visit http://www.springerlink.com/index/Y772X133H1177Q84.pdf
'Horvath and Brown’s collection treats many of the classic topics in studies of sexual assault and rape in creative ways, introducing new approaches to victim vulnerability, alcohol use, and the prevalence of sexual scripts, for example. In addition to serving asan interesting research reference, it would also translate well into a classroom setting.' – Sameena Mulla, Marquette University in PoLAR: Vol. 34, No. 1
'Horvath and Brown (both, Univ. of Surrey, UK) offer a book of readings focused on one type of forced sexual intercourse--rape. The various chapters explore the traditional issues in this line of research. While some chapters include research from other forms of forced sexual intercourse, they do not address issues related to those other forms and the needs of many of those victims. The contributing authors, some of whom direct or deliver services to victims, are well qualified in their respective fields. The composition is fairly consistent from chapter to chapter, and the book clearly expresses the authors' messages. The use of tables and charts is limited. The book is adequately referenced and indexed. Summing Up: Recommended. Libraries seeking expansive holdings for graduate students and faculty in psychology, women's studies, and social work.' – R. T. Sigler, emeritus, University of Alabama in Choice
Foreword, Mary P. Koss 1. Setting the scene; Introduction to understanding rape, Miranda Horvath and Jennifer Brown Section 1: Processes and representations 2. Rape myth acceptance: affective, behavioural, and cognitive effects of beliefs that blame the victim and exonerate the perpetrator, Gerd Bohner, Friederike Eyssel, Afroditi Pina, Frank Siebler and Tendayi Viki 3. Anger, disgust and sexual crimes, Roger Giner-Sorolla and Pascale S. Russel 4. Rape in the media, Jenny Kitzinger 5. Sexual scripts, sexual refusals and 'date rape', Hannah Frith Section 2: Victim vulnerabilities 6. Alcohol and drugs in rape and sexual assault, Jo Lovett ,and Miranda Horvath 7. Narratives of survival: South Asian Women's experience of rape, Aisha Gill 8. Invaded spaces and feeling dirty: Women's narratives of violation in prostitution and sexual violence, Maddy Coy 9. 'Real' rape and 'real' rape allegations: What are the vulnerabilities of the women who report to the police?, Betsy Stanko and Emma Williams Section 3: the Criminal Justice System 10. Seeking proof or truth? Naturalistic decision making by police officers when considering rape allegations, Stephanie O'Keefe, Jennifer Brown and Evanthia Lyons 11. Police interviews of rape victims: Tensions and contradictions, Lesley McMillan and Michelle Thomas 12. A vicious cycle? Attrition and conviction patterns in contemporary rape trials in England and Wales, Vanessa Munro and Liz Kelly 13. Addressing the attitude problem in rape trials: Some proposals and methodological considerations, Barbara Krahe and Jennifer Temkin Concluding Remarks 14. Is it real rape and do you believe her?, Jennifer Brown and Miranda Horvath
Miranda Horvath is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Middlesex.
Jennifer Brown is a forensic psychologist at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology at LSE.