Peggy R. Sanday: “Why don’t some boys see it as rape?”

Anthropologist Peggy R. Sanday has a new article on CNN that discusses rape and (male) youth culture in regards to the ongoing case in Steubenville, OH.  Here’s an excerpt:

The rape case unraveling in Steubenville, Ohio, brought back memories of my own frightening experience. I didn’t know what was happening that day when the four young men began looking at me differently. I only knew that I had to get away as soon as possible.

In the Steubenville case, a girl who was incapacitated by alcohol purportedly passed out and was allegedly sexually assaulted by two young men on the high school football team while others watched.

What strikes me about the incident is that it demonstrates a split in the boy rape-prone sexual culture. Some young men continue to believe that when a girl gets drunk, staging a sexual spectacle for their mates is part of a night’s fun. They don’t think of it as rape. Some of their buddies, however, disagree. In their transition to manhood, they are able to name rape when they see it.

Read the rest of Sanday’s article here.


Ryan Anderson is a cultural and environmental anthropologist. His current research focuses on coastal conservation, sustainability, and development in the Californias. He also writes about politics, economics, and media. You can reach him at ryan AT savageminds dot org or @anthropologia on twitter.

3 thoughts on “Peggy R. Sanday: “Why don’t some boys see it as rape?”

  1. Jesus, the comments section is just as awful as I expected. If anything shows the utter bankruptcy of post-modernist approaches to anthropology, it’s responses to articles like these.

Comments are closed.