BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Sexual violence, bodily pain, and trauma: a history

Bourke, Joanna (2012) Sexual violence, bodily pain, and trauma: a history. Theory, Culture & Society 29 (3), pp. 25-51. ISSN 0263-2764.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


Psychological trauma is a favoured trope of modernity. It has become commonplace to assume that all ‘bad events’ – and particularly those which involve violence – have a pathological effect on the sufferer’s psyche, as well as that of the perpetrators. This essay explores the ways victims of rape and sexual assault were understood in psychiatric, psychological, forensic, and legal texts in Britain and America from the 19th to the late 20th century. It argues that, unlike most other ‘bad events’, which were incorporated within trauma narratives from the 1860s, the ascription of psychological trauma was only applied to rape victims a century later. Why and what were the consequences?

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Anglo-American history, bodily pain, psychiatry, PTSD, rape, sexual violence, trauma narratives
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2012 13:31
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:59

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item