Margaret O(ldroyd) Hyde Kirkus Reviews - Essay

Kirkus Reviews

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

As usual Hyde has done a good deal of research and very little in the way of organization or analysis [for Speak Out On Rape!]. Conclusions are even scarcer, though that might be only prudent here where she repeatedly refers to the inconclusiveness of research to date. Feminist assertions that rape is an outgrowth of our sexist society and that much preventive advice restricts women's rightful freedom are mentioned without endorsement or rejection; and unlike [Susan] Brownmiller's more polemical Against Our Will (1975), which asserts that rapists are motivated by power needs and that victims should fight back, Hyde leaves both questions open and compiles no profile of the typical attacker, though she devotes chapters to indiscriminately reviewing different theories and viewpoints on both. (The one characteristic, she reports, which seems to ward off attack is an air of confidence.) Hyde does emphasize the severe emotional damage suffered by victims and the common ignorance or callousness toward such feelings on the part of medical and legal professionals. Here the NOW task force and other women's groups can be supportive, and Hyde lists a number which provided her with help and material. Her stated purpose is to alert young women to the prevalence of the problem and the sources of help; to that end, despite its shortcomings, Speak Out On Rape! must be counted a first step worth taking.

"Young Adult Non-Fiction: 'Speak Out on Rape!'" in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1976 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLIV, No. 4, February 15, 1976. p. 207.