First, they regard the deprivation of women's bodily sovereignty—in particular, male control over the sexual and reproductive uses of women's bodies—as a central defining element of patriarchy (Whisnant 2007).
First among these is feminists' emphasis on “breaking the silence” around rape.
It has now been amply confirmed by research: according to one study of over 16,000 Americans, 18.3% of women report having been victims of rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives (Black et al., 2011).
Of these women, 42.2% were under age eighteen when they were first raped; an earlier study showed that these women were twice as likely to report having been raped as adults (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000).
(For this reason, again contrary to stereotype, most rapes are intraracial.) In the study of over 16,000 Americans mentioned above, 51.1% of female victims were raped by an intimate partner, and 40.8% by an acquaintance (Black et al., 2011).
Remarkably few assailants are punished: with estimated U. state conviction rates of two to nine percent of total rapes (Kim 2012, 264), “ninety-four to ninety-eight percent of total rapists and approximately eighty-four percent of reported rapists go free” (Kim 2012, 272).