Cover image for Encyclopedia of rape
Encyclopedia of rape
Smith, Merril D., 1956-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxvii, 301 pages ; 26 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6558 .E53 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



Rape has been perpetrated throughout history and worldwide, and today ours has been called a rape culture, because sexual violence, mainly against women and children, is prevalent and tolerated to some extent. The Encyclopedia of Rape offers 185 entries in an A-to-Z essay format covering the historical scope and magnitude of the issue in the United States and globally. Written by a host of scholars from diverse fields, it provides informed perspectives on the key dimensions of the topic, from concepts, social movements, offenders, high-profile cases, legislation, influential activists, landmark texts, and victimology to representations in literature and art. This solid, accessible ready-reference will allow students and the general reader to contextualize current events and reading and viewing in history, literature and the Bible, film, art history, gender studies, psychology, criminology, popular culture, and more.

Rape is a topic of perpetual relevance and remains deeply controversial, as it involves the sexual act. Although women are the primary targets of rape and thus the focus of discussion of it, the rape of men, children, and animals is also considered in the encyclopedia. Up to date, it contains insight on the manifestations of rape today, including as a tool of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda, the Catholic Church priest scandals, and drug-facilitated date rape. Added value comes from an abundance of statistics, suggested reading for further research per entry, chronology, resource guide, and appendix listing entries by topic.

Author Notes

MERRIL D. SMITH is an independent scholar and author and editor of several books, including Sex without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America (2001).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Given that rape is frequently assigned as a research topic in high school and college, it is surprising that no encyclopedia specific to it has appeared until now. Edited by Smith, who has published other titles on the history of sexual coercion, sexuality, and marriage in America, this single-volume work covers the issue thoroughly in over 180 entries written by a wide variety of scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and medicine. Entries average only a page in length, but even the most complicated topics (e.g., religion, DNA collection and evidence) get thoughtful, nuanced treatment. All entries are followed by a list of suggested readings that varies in length, depending on the complexity of the topic. In addition to an alphabetical list of entries and a keyword index, there is a topical list of entries composed of 22 categories covering legal, medical, ethical, cultural, political, and historical issues, as well as organizations, individuals, rape incidents and theories. Browsing this topical list will give students an overview of the subject and the various avenues of research they can take. Bottom Line This carefully researched work will serve as an excellent introduction to the subject for any student. Highly recommended for public, college, and high school libraries.-Nadine Cohen-Baker, Univ. of Georgia, Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In an exceptional encyclopedia, Smith (an independent scholar and historian of sexuality and rape in the US) has created an invaluable, highly accessible guide to terminology, history, and current issues surrounding rape. The alphabetically arranged entries cover the physiological, political, and psychological aspects of rape, and supply biographical sketches of notorious rapists and their victims from ancient times to the present. The language used is at times graphic, and by its nature the volume is intended for adult readers, but entries are written with an unflinching regard for facts, avoiding sensationalism. The encyclopedia features several access points, including alphabetical and topical tables of contents, an extensive index, and cross-referenced entries. Suggestions for further reading follow each entry, and a resource guide suggests books, Web sites, and films in which to find more information. Users at all levels will find this volume a useful resource for scholarly information on recent high-profile rape cases, and it will also serve as an entry point for further research on rape and its subtopics. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General and academic readers. H. Corbett Fisher College

Table of Contents

Chronology List of Entries
Encyclopedia Resource Guide
Appendix: List of Entries by Topic Index
About the Author and Contributors