Michael F. McCauley (review date 5 December 1975)
SOURCE: McCauley, Michael F. Review of Against Our Will, by Susan Brownmiller. Commonweal 102, no. 19 (5 December 1975): 602–03.
[In the following excerpt, McCauley praises Against Our Will for addressing a timely issue that concerns everyone.]
Four years ago when journalist Susan Brownmiller began writing Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, she often encountered embarrassment concerning rape and rape victims. For the most part this attitude has changed due, largely, to the women's movement and the staggering projection that half a million women will be raped this year. In this compelling, unflinching account of Ms. Brownmiller's confrontation of her own fears and intellectual defenses she details her conversion from the typical liberal stance to a disarming realization of her own vulnerability. Backed-up by carefully-selected, well-documented research encompassing psychoanalysis, sociology, criminology, law and history, Against Our Will explores current discriminatory rape laws that are still obscured by medieval codes, traditional sexist prejudices and sheer fantasy. Ms. Brownmiller exposes a widespread, unspoken tenet of male-dominated society which virtually denies the fact of force, suggesting that “all women want to be raped,” thus doubly violating the victims by adding to the actual physical assault the psychological trauma of being accused of enticement or compliance. Against Our Will is a poignant, candid and long-overdue analysis of a subject that concerns all. As long as present legal outlooks and cultural mythologies prevail, we are, each one of us, victims of this unspeakable attack on our humanity.