3 Background and History 1 Introduction Reflecting on the trauma caused by experiencing a violent rape, survivor and author Patricia Weaver Francisco wrote, “If the occurrence of rape were audible, its decibel level equal to its frequency, it would overpower our days and nights, interrupt our meals, our bedtime stories, howl behind our lovemaking, an insistent jackhammer of distress. We would demand an end to it. And if we failed to locate its source, we would condemn the whole structure. We would refuse to live under such con- ditions” (Francisco 2000). Her powerful quote speaks to an alarming truth: sexual assault is ubiquitous, but it is too often ignored or minimized. Perhaps if public awareness and rec- ognition of the frequency and impact of sexual violence was higher, there would be greater demand for an end to it. The statistics are distressing. The World Health Organiza- tion (2021) found that one in every three women worldwide experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Based on analysis of National Crime Victimization Survey data, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) states that every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. One out of six American women and 3 percent of American Anita Hill testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Clarence Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing. In the televised proceedings, the committee grilled Hill about the alleged sexual harassment she experienced when she worked with Thomas. (Library of Congress)
Previous Page Next Page