New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle with the Concept

Overview

It is increasingly difficult to use the word "victim" these days without facing either ridicule for "crying victim" or criticism for supposed harshness toward those traumatized. Some deny the possibility of "recovering" repressed memories of abuse, or consider date rape an invention of whining college students. At the opposite extreme, others contend that women who experience abuse are "survivors" likely destined to be psychically wounded for life.

While the debates rage between...

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Overview

It is increasingly difficult to use the word "victim" these days without facing either ridicule for "crying victim" or criticism for supposed harshness toward those traumatized. Some deny the possibility of "recovering" repressed memories of abuse, or consider date rape an invention of whining college students. At the opposite extreme, others contend that women who experience abuse are "survivors" likely destined to be psychically wounded for life.

While the debates rage between victims' rights advocates and "backlash" authors, the contributors to New Versions of Victims collectively argue that we must move beyond these polarizations to examine the "victim" as a socially constructed term and to explore, in nuanced terms, why we see victims the way we do.

Must one have been subject to extreme or prolonged suffering to merit designation as a victim? How are we to explain rape victims who seemingly "get over" their experience with no lingering emotional scars? Resisting the reductive oversimplifications of the polemicists, the contributors to New Versions of Victims critique exaggerated claims by victim advocates about the harm of victimization while simultaneously taking on the reactionary boilerplate of writers such as Katie Roiphe and Camille Paglia and offering further strategies for countering the backlash.

Written in clear, accessible language, New Versions of Victims offers a critical analysis of popular debates about victimization that will be applicable to both practice and theory.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Moral Education
Challenges feminists, the therapy community and the academic community to think about the meanings of abuse to the abused and to the culture at large...A valuable contribution to feminist discourse.
From the Publisher

"Challenges feminists, the therapy community and the academic community to think about the meanings of abuse to the abused and to the culture at large. . . . A valuable contribution to feminist discourse"

-Journal of Moral Education,

"New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle with the Concept contribute[s] to the project of moving feminist theory and practice beyond reliance, implicit or explicit, on the abstract dualisms of liberal thinking."

-Hypatia,

"Written in clear, accessible language...New Versions of Victims offers a critical analysis of popular debates about victimization that will be applicable to both practice and theory."

-Adolescence,

"Timely contribution to the theorization of rape and helps delineate areas in need of further analysis. [Lamb] also address[es] the issue from radically different perspectives and methodologies...particularly noteworthy."

-SIGNS,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814751534
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Lamb is Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. She is the author of The Trouble With Blame: Victims, Perpetrators, and Responsibility.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Contributors
Introduction 1
1 Heretical Texts: The Courage to Heal and the Incest Survivor Movement 13
2 The Challenge to Feminism Posed by Women's Use of Violence in Intimate Relationships 42
3 "I Wasn't Raped, but ...": Revisiting Definitional Problems in Sexual Victimization 57
4 Recasting Consent: Agency and Victimization in Adult-Teen Relationships 82
5 Constructing the Victim: Popular Images and Lasting Labels 108
6 In the Line of Sight at Public Eye: In Search of a Victim 139
7 Trauma Talk in Feminist Clinical Practice 158
8 Victims, Backlash, and Radical Feminist Theory (or, The Morning after They Stole Feminism's Fire) 183
Index 213
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