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Senior Research Fellow Jody Raphael opens discussion on acquaintance rape

DePaul University Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Senior Research Fellow Jody Raphael's new book "Rape is Rape: How Denial, Distortion, and Victim Blaming Are Fueling a Hidden Acquaintance Rape Crisis" (Chicago Review Press 2013) argues that “the time has come for rape denial to become as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.”

Drawing on research and firsthand interviews with acquaintance rape victims, Rape is Rape presents clear statistics on rape prevalence and reporting, consistent with a number of studies often ignored by policymakers and the press.

An attorney by training, and a 25-veteran in practice in legal services programs for the poor in the Midwest, Raphael is a noted national expert on violence against women in girls, with special emphasis on the effects of violence on poor women of color. She is the author of over 20 research articles, and serves as an associate editor of the international journal Violence against Women.

In 1995 her research was the first nationally to establish that large percentages of women on welfare were current violence victims, whose partners, threatened by their economic independence, sabotaged their efforts at education, training, and work. Her numerous research reports, which spawned other research nationally, directly led to the Family Violence Option in the 1996 welfare reform legislation, providing battered women with more time and special supports before mandatory work. She is the author of numerous research studies on violence and poverty, as well as two major research projects on violence in the Chicago sex trade industry.

In 2000 the first book in her trilogy on poverty and violence was published by Northeastern University Press, Saving Bernice: Battered Women, Welfare, and Poverty. In 2004 the second book, Listening to Olivia: Violence, Poverty, and Prostitution, appeared. With the publication of Freeing Tammy: Women, Drugs, and Incarceration in May 2007 the trilogy was completed. The trilogy tells the stories of three Chicago women, illustrating the many ways that domestic violence, childhood sexual assault, and rape make and keep women poor. With the trilogy, Raphael also demonstrates how stigmatization and blaming of women violence victims contributes to their poverty and keeps them from entering the regular labor market, and how systems established to help women violence victims can end up injuring them.

At DePaul College of Law, Raphael is undertaking a multiyear study and monitoring of the Cook County Circuit Court’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault. During 2007-2008 she undertook research with women and girls in prostitution in Chicago who are controlled by a pimp or trafficker to better determine how women and girls are coerced into the sex trade industry in Chicago and kept there by violence and threats of violence. In 2009-2010 research with 25 ex-pimps and traffickers further elucidated the structure of the Chicago sex trade and efforts to recruit girls and women. These reports are available at the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center page.

Early praise for Rape is Rape:
"[A] compelling, grim account of the struggle for victims of sexual violence to be heard and believed." — Publishers Weekly
"Meticulously researched and passionately argued rebuttal of those who would deny the reality and alarming prevalence of acquaintance rape. ( ... ) Raphael hopes to change such attitudes, not only through the heavy dose of accurate data she presents, but also through the stories of several young women who were raped by someone they knew." — Kirkus Review
"Jody's not afraid to challenge all of us to do better." — Voices and Faces Project

For current rape prevalence data, see:
Centers for Disease Control, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary Report:
Bonnie Fisher et. al., The Sexual Victimization of College Women, 2000,

Further information about rape in America:
www.voicesandfacesproject.or​g (a forum for rape victims to share their accounts)

Blog on Rape Denial:

Support for Rape Victims
The National Sexual Assault hotline: 1-8000-656-HOPE (4673)

Rape is Rape, Errata: On page 192 the reference to “fellatio” should read “anal penetration.”​​