February 20, 2014
Gender, Race, and Rape During the Civil War


While researching a fictional trilogy about the Civil War, Kim Murphy kept coming across the assertion that it was a “low-rape” war. At first she didn’t question the idea, she says, but after finding official records that mentioned rape in the same sentence as pillaging and burning—crimes generally accepted to have happened—she started to suspect there was a hole in the history that needed filling. She did more digging, and what she uncovered became her new, nonfiction book, I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War.
Historians, Murphy says, largely had the idea that the Victorian era was characterized by restraint, and therefore there was little rape.


Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]

Gender, Race, and Rape During the Civil War

While researching a fictional trilogy about the Civil War, Kim Murphy kept coming across the assertion that it was a “low-rape” war. At first she didn’t question the idea, she says, but after finding official records that mentioned rape in the same sentence as pillaging and burning—crimes generally accepted to have happened—she started to suspect there was a hole in the history that needed filling. She did more digging, and what she uncovered became her new, nonfiction book, I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War.

Historians, Murphy says, largely had the idea that the Victorian era was characterized by restraint, and therefore there was little rape.

Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]

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    "Victorian era was characterized by restraint," my ass. Where on earth did we get the notion that there wasn’t rape in...
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    Why not start from the beginning? The Atlantic has come across yet another debunking of the idea that rape has ever...
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