‘Healthy’ Relationships: Feminism and the Psy Disciplines in the Political History of Sexual Violence in Contemporary America.

This chapter explores the history of the use of public health language as a framework for discussing sexual violence in the United States. Although the acknowledgment of violence against women has been an enduring feminist objective, the means of advocacy and the framing of sexual violence are constantly reshaped according to specific social, cultural, and historical contexts. One of the aims of second-wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s was to increase recognition of the intimate character of violence against women. During this period, feminists focused on inequality and power relations, and aimed to expose their existence within relationships, particularly those of a sexual nature. Feminists worked to characterize behaviors that were not previously considered to be violent as forms of violence. The recognition of the intimate nature of gender violence led to the formation of politically efficient alliances between feminists, practitioners, and researchers in the psy disciplines (mainly psychology and psychiatry). These alliances helped to make psychology, psychiatry, and public health the main interpretative forces in understanding how gender violence occurs and the effects it can have on the victim. Psychology and psychiatry shaped this discourse in both scholarly and public arenas. Furthermore, health professionals developed studies, statistics, and guidelines that quantified and qualified violence against women as an ‘epidemic.’ This chapter examines how violence, sexuality, psychology, and health were woven together in this history.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 17 novembre 2021 à 13 h 21 min.