The #MeToo Movement: An Invitation for Feminist Critique of Rape Crisis Framing

Jamie R. Abrams* 

This article invites feminists to leverage the #MeToo Movement as a critical analytical tool to explore the longevity of the enduring rape crisis framing of victim services. Long before the #MeToo Movement, victim services in communities nationwide were framed around a crisis model. For nearly half a century, victims have visited rape crisis centers, called rape crisis hotlines, and mobilized rape crisis response teams to provide services and support. This enduring political and social framing around rape as a crisis is opaque, has prompted a political backlash, and risks distorting hard-fought feminist legal, social, and political battles. It has yielded underreporting, underutilization, and recurring risks of budgetary cuts. Yet, this model and terminology have gone virtually unchanged for nearly half a century.

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* Associate Professor of Law at the University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. LL.M., 2011, Columbia University School of Law; J.D., 2002, American University, Washington College of Law; B.A., Indiana University–Bloomington. Thanks to Aleisha Cowles, Lindsey Dennis, Mikaela Feng, Abigail Lewis, and Jennifer Reynolds for their research support. Thanks to the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law for a Faculty Development Grant supporting this project. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback and input provided at the Law, Culture, and Humanities Conference (Georgetown University Law Center, Spring 2018) and the Georgetown Legal Practice Scholarship Workshop (Fall 2017).

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