Added: September 13, 2014 – Last updated: December 3, 2016


Speaker: Amanda C. Pipkin

Title: Uses of Sexual Violence and Conceptions of Rapists in the Dutch Republic of the Seventeenth Century

Subtitle: -

Conference: 6th European Social Science History Conference (March 22-25, 2006)

Session: E-16 - WOM13: Sexual violence, slavery and women's agency

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Date: March 25, 2006

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 17th Century | European History: Dutch History | Representations: Literary Texts / 17th-Century Literature


Link: -


Speaker: Amanda Pipkin, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte –


»I would like to present a paper on how authors of the emerging Dutch Republic developed the cultural basis for a Dutch political identity, through the equation of sexual violence with tyrannical political rule and the opposition of it to the just political rule of the Dutch Republic. By subsuming their religious and political disagreements into the language of sexual violence, Dutch authors were able to debate the religious and political contours of the Republic without destabilizing it or causing the debates to erupt into armed conflicts. The representations of violent sexuality are thus vital in allowing the violent impulses of political antagonists to not break out into political violence but to be redirected against women.
Important for the history of sexuality, this paper shows that the seventeenth-century Dutch constructed the concept of sexual violence quite differently than we might expect. The rapist is not a sexual deviant, but a man working against the goals of proper society and disobedient to God in all his relationships, political, social and religious. And he is a man who cannot economically contribute to society. A rapist with money to support a household will be able to marry his victim and re-enter the tight social structure of the seventeenth century Netherlands whose primary unit is the married pair. A rapist is also a woman who powerfully draws men to her against their will or a woman who marries a minor male without the consent of his parents. The seventeenth-century Dutch largely tolerated rape when it served political or social ends and punished it when it was thought to be politically or socially detrimental.« (Source: European Social Science History Conference website)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of the Netherlands / Dutch Golden Age | Literature: Dutch-language literature / Dutch Renaissance and Golden Age literature