Pipkin 2007 Rape

Title Information

Author: Amanda Cathryn Pipkin

Title: Every Woman's Fear

Subtitle: Stories of Rape and Dutch Identity in the Golden Age

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Year: May 2007

Pages: vii + 230pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 17th Century | Dutch History

Full Text

Link: RUcore - Rutgers University Community Repository [Free Access]

Additional Information

Author: Amanda Pipkin, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Academia.edu


»This dissertation explores the ways literate members of the Dutch Republic deployed a discourse about rape to stimulate specific forms of Dutch national, religious, and social identification during the seventeenth century. In turn, it examines patriotic literature and art, Protestant advice, disciplinary and legal records, and Catholic guides for religious women. Understanding the centrality of the discourse of rape in the nascent Dutch Republic reveals the ways in which power is expressed in bodily terms. Through their depictions of rape, patriarchs asserted control over not only women, but also poorer men and minors, literary elites declared Dutch superiority over the Spanish, and Dutch Catholics and Protestants challenged each other's views of the ideal constitution of the new Dutch social body.
Depictions of rape serve distinctly different functions in the expression of religious tensions in the post-Reformation period, the assertion of patriarchal family structure, and state-building. Catholic priests used discussions of rape as the means through which they could empower certain religious women to fight to save Catholicism in the Netherlands, by leaving their homes and spreading its teachings. This highlights a rare case in which Catholic women were not limited to institutional religious opportunities after the Council of Trent, but rather engaged in active roles outside cloister walls. Protestant patriarchs, on the other hand, denied the value of adult virginity and instead used discussions of rape to assert their power over young women and wives, implying that women of a certain age who are unprotected by fathers, husbands, and the walls of their homes were not only in great danger, but also responsible for rape should it occur. A wide variety of Protestant sources take this a step further: women are not only responsible for keeping themselves out of harm's way, but can actually be held accountable -- even legally responsible -- for raping or abducting men. In addition, it is through depictions of rape that members of the Dutch male elite asserted a national identification that downplays the importance of religious difference among the Dutch by constructing the Spanish as raping tyrants and Dutch citizens as fathers and husbands who protect women.« [Source: Thesis]


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Dedication (p. iv)
  List of Illustrations (p. vi)
  Chapter one: Introduction (p. 1)
    Rape in Literature and Art (p. 3)
    Rape and the Law (p. 7)
    Rape and Power (p. 10)
    Plan of the Dissertation (p. 12)
  Chapter 2: Plays and National Identity (p. 15)
    The Rape of Lucretia, Machteld and Claris (p. 19)
    Creating Dutch identity (p. 23)
    Rape and Rebellion (p. 28)
    Rape and Revulsion (p. 41)
    Embodying Religious Violation (p. 47)
    A New Dutch Model (p. 50)
  Chapter 3: Protestant Moralist Literature: Exonerated Rapists and the Patriarchal State (p. 53)
    Class Concerns (p. 57)
    Obedient Minors (p. 71)
    Natural Male Sexual Aggression (p. 81)
    Obscured Pain (p. 93)
  Chapter 4: Protestant Elite Literature - Women's Powers and Responsibilities (p. 104)
    Controlling Women's Bodies and Minds (p. 106)
    Advice to Imperfect Women (p. 118)
    Frightening Powers of Assertive Women (p. 127)
    Legal Implications of Women's Responsibilities (p. 132)
    Man-killers (p. 141)
    Conclusions (p. 146)
  Chapter 5: Catholic Advice Manuals and Violent Virgins (p. 148)
    Advocating Violence and Murder (p. 151)
    Maintaining Sexual Purity in spite of Assault (p. 161)
    Seventeenth-Century Categories of Sexual Purity and Impurity (p. 166)
    Preserving Internal Purity (p. 168)
    Preventing Sexual Impurity (p. 175)
    Superheroes of Purity (p. 202)
    Concluding Ideas (p. 206)
  Chapter 6: Conclusions (p. 210)
    Creating a Nation and Citizenry (p. 211)
    Implications for Dutch Women (p. 214)
  Bibliography (p. 221)
  Curriculum Vitae (p. 230)

Added: April 19, 2014 | Last updated: April 19, 2014