Intended for healthcare professionals


Time to talk about rape

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 27 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:232

Women must be free to take charge of their own lives

  1. Jean R Edwards (, senior medical officer
  1. Sexual Assault Service and Child Protection Service, Northern Sydney Area Health, St Leonards, New South Wales 2065, Australia
  2. The Haven, Caldecot Centre, King's College Hospital, London SE5 9RS

    EDITOR—A campaign against rape is needed that is based on the human rights of women in their own right rather than on their relationship to the men in their lives.

    Although I am pleased to see rape on the agenda for discussion, I feel that the approach taken by MacDonald fails to reflect the reality of women's lives in the countries she mentions.1 It is useless to say that men should remember that women are their mothers, wives, and daughters when husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and brothers commit a large proportion of rape and violence against women. The family home may well be the least safe place for a woman to be. It is common in some communities for a woman to be forced into marriage with her rapist as a means of safeguarding what is regarded as the family honour.

    In a …

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