When Susan Brownmiller published Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape in 1975, few anticipated that it would become a feminist classic published in more than a dozen languages. Even fewer imagined that it would foreshadow a proliferation of public discourse on sexual assault in an array of institutions, including the family, the workplace, higher education, sports, the Church, and the U.S. military. Entering the word “rape” in Ngram1 reveals that over the 20 years following the publication of Against Our Will, rape rapidly proliferated as a topic in books. In the period from 1985 to 2005, so too did the topic of prisons. And further, during the latter part of that time period, the topic “transgender” began to gain momentum. In 2003, the passage of the landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) defined prison rape as a national social problem worthy of federal intervention; it memorialized in public policy the intersection between rape and prisons, and brought historic attention to the rape of transgender people behind bars.
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