The Rock Ethics Institute



In Defense of Self-Defense

Ann J. Cahill
Philosophical Papers 38 (3): 363-380 (2009)

Some feminist theorists have argued that emphasizing women's self-defense mistakenly emphasizes women's behavior and choices rather than male aggression as a cause of sexual violence. I argue here that such critiques of self-defense are misguided, and do not sufficiently take into account the ways in which feminist self-defense courses can constitute embodied transformations of the meanings of femininity and rape. While certainly not sufficient to counter a rape culture by themselves, self-defense courses should remain a crucial element in feminist anti-rape activism. Abstract retrieved from philpapers.

Cahill, Ann J. (2011). In defense of self defense. Philosophical Papers 38 (3): 363-380 (2011)

Ethical Erotics: Reconceptualizing Anti-Rape Education

Moira Carmody
Sexualities, 8 (4): 465-480 (2005)

This article argues that many anti-violence prevention strategies have been shaped by unarticulated discourses of sexuality that focus primarily on women managing the risk and danger of unethical behaviour of men. Sexual intimacy has therefore been dominated by discourses of fear and danger and women’s pleasure is once again invisible. An alternative conception of sexual ethics is presented based on Foucault’s work on ethics, and sexuality. The findings from in-depth qualitative interviews with 26 Australian women and men of diverse sexualities indicate that women and men regardless of erotic choice of partner have found multiple ways to explore sexual pleasure that is ethical, non-violent and where danger is reduced. This suggests a need to develop alternative ways of shaping violence prevention strategies that acknowledge both pleasure and danger. Abstract retrieved from Sage Journals.

Carmody, Moira (2005). Ethical erotics: Reconceptualizing anti-rape education. Sexualities, 8 (4): 465-480.

 “It Can Happen to You”: Rape Prevention in the Age of Risk Management

Rachel Hall
Hypatia, 19 (3): 1-19 (2004)

This essay provides a critical analysis of rape prevention since the 1980s. I argue that we must challenge rape prevention's habitual reinforcement of the notion that fear is a woman's best line of defense. I suggest changes that must be made in the anti-rape movement if we are to move past fear. Ultimately, I raise the question of what, if not vague threats and scare tactics, constitutes prevention. Abstract retrieved from philpapers.

Hall, Rachel (2004). “It can happen to you”: Rape prevention in the age of risk management. Hypatia, 19 (3): 1-19.

Sexual Ethics and Violence Prevention

Moira Carmody
Social and Legal Studies, 12 (2): 199-216 (2003)


Violence against women remains a pressing and unresolved global issue which has proved resistant to over 30 years of feminist activism around prevention. This article argues that many prevention strategies have been shaped by unarticulated discourses about sexuality which have focused primarily on women managing the risk of the unethical behaviour of men. An alternative conception of sexual ethics is proposed based on Foucault's work on ethics, sexuality, governmentality and power as productive and in a constant state of negotiation. I argue that all sexual encounters, regardless of the gender of the people involved, invites the possibility of ethical sexual behaviour. Given the failure of prevention strategies in eradicating intimate sexual violence to date, there is a pressing need to consider how desire, acts and pleasure can be understood from an ethical perspective to create a greater possibility of realizing an erotics of consent. This would result in alternative ways of shaping violence prevention strategies and provide new directions for law, education and negotiating intimate sexual relationships of women and men of diverse sexualities. Abstract retrieved from Sage Journals.

Carmody, Moira (2003). Sexual ethics and violence prevention. Social and Legal Studies, 12 (2): 199-216.

Preventing Sexual Violence?

Moira Carmody & Kerry Carrington
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 33 (3): 341-361 (2000)

This article critically assesses the main social policy responses to preventing rape following much feminist struggle to make sexual violence a public matter of legitimate concern. It considers the preventative potential of legal measures, anti-violence campaigns waged by feminist and men's groups in the US and Australia, public education campaigns in Schools and Universities, and public awareness campaigns sponsored by the state. We argue that sexual violence is not amenable to quick fix strategies that place responsibility for prevention entirely on individual men or women. While we recognise that responsibilising victims and individualising offenders is consistent with wider global shifts in social policy calling upon individuals to manage their own risk, we argue that the increasing reliance on such neo-liberal social policy is especially problematic in preventing rape. The paper suggests ways to resist this which place greater emphasis on the promotion of sexual ethics; the eroticisation of consent; the reinvention of the norms of romance to include both these, and the complete separation of the psycho-social-symbolic connections between sex and violence, and ultimately the re-evaluation of the cultural expectations of masculinity and femininity. Abstract retrieved from research gate.

Carmody, Moira & Carrington, Kerry (2000). Preventing sexual violence? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 33 (3): 341-361.