Tackling Rape Culture: Ending Patriarchy  book cover
1st Edition

Tackling Rape Culture: Ending Patriarchy

ISBN 9781032263595
Published July 8, 2022 by Routledge
338 Pages

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Book Description

In Tackling Rape Culture: Ending Patriarchy, Jan Jordan asks why, despite decades of feminist activism, does rape culture remain so endemic within contemporary society. She argues that, in order to understand the global pandemic of sexual violence, we must view rape culture as a consequence of the social divisiveness that emerges from the logic of patriarchy. In advancing this argument, Jordan offers a comprehensive indictment of the patriarchal system while recognising also women’s efforts to resist its edicts. Jordan critically explores two mechanisms that she argues are central to the maintenance and reproduction of rape culture - silencing and objectification. Both are examined as patriarchal strategies that have been relied on for centuries to control and constrain women’s lives, silencing their voices and keeping them as ‘othered’ outsiders in a male-defined world. Women throughout history have sought ways to resist such control and, since the second-wave women’s movement of the 1970s, this has included multiple initiatives both offline and more recently online. While #MeToo is being hailed by many as evidence that the silencing of women’s voices about rape has finally been broken, Jordan urges a more critical appraisal given the continued dominance of patriarchal thinking. To end rape culture, Jordan argues, we must end patriarchy.

This timely and provocative book, which complements Jordan’s Women, Rape and Justice: Unravelling the Rape Conundrum (Routledge, 2022), will be of great interest to researchers, students, practitioners and activists seeking to understand and challenge the pervasive rape culture characterising contemporary patriarchal society.

Table of Contents

1. The misogyny of rape culture  2. Understanding our patriarchal DNA  3. Silencing women  4. Objectifying women  5. Women objectified  6. Resisting rape culture  7. Ending patriarchy

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Jan Jordan is Emerita Professor of Criminology at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has spent more than three decades researching sexual violence, with the primary aim of making the voices of women silenced by rape heard by those positioned to facilitate their access to justice. Her books include The word of a woman? Police, rape and belief (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Serial survivors: Women's narratives of surviving rape (Federation Press, 2008). Her latest research, funded by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Award, asked why, despite more than 50 years of feminist action against violence, rape prevalence remains so high and rape justice so elusive. Exploring this conundrum has led her to explore the origins of patriarchy and how the mechanisms of silencing and objectification are integral to the maintenance of contemporary rape culture. Tackling Rape Culture: Ending Patriarchy is the second of two books resulting from this research; the first was recently published as Women, Rape and Justice: Unravelling the Rape Conundrum (Routledge, 2022).


Tackling Rape Culture looks behind the horrifying daily headlines to ask why rape remains so pervasive and so enduring despite decades of feminist activism. Jan Jordan argues that it is only by striking at the heart of patriarchal culture and its processes of silencing and objectification of women that societies will move beyond rape. A beautifully written and passionate intervention.’

Rosalind Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, City, University of London, UK

‘Jan Jordan powerfully dissects patriarchy, laying bare the ongoing ways that two of its key mechanisms – silencing and objectifying women – sustain rape culture. She insists we face the (suppressed) truth about patriarchy and weaves together evidence from wide-ranging sources to make the case. Essential reading for tackling rape culture!’

Nicola Gavey, Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

‘From witch-hunting in the middle-ages to the current phenomenon of #MeToo, this book reveals the strength and persistence of patriarchy. But – thankfully – it also offers a way forward if we collectively work to end the silencing and objectification of women.’

Clare McGlynn, Professor of Law, Durham University, UK

‘This book reminds us that for feminism to advance within the interdisciplinary study of various types of violence against women, it is vital to continue doing rigorous empirical and theoretical work that prioritizes the concept of patriarchy. Jordan’s offering is destined to become a classic piece of feminist scholarship that will do much to advance a social scientific understanding of rape culture.’

Walter S. DeKeseredy, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, West Virginia University, USA

‘Brava. A tour de force. This book addresses the question: "why is rape not illegal"? Jordan sets out a damning account of the damage of patriarchy. As the surround sound in women’s lives in particular, patriarchy requires women to be responsible for their own sexual safety, and promotes the silencing of and objectification of women that makes this impossible. A must read for those who want to understand why tearing down patriarchy is so necessary, and important, in the 21st century.’

Betsy Stanko OBE, Emeritus Professor of Criminology and Sociology, Royal Holloway. University of London, UK and Visiting Professor in Crime Science and Security at University College London, UK