Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: June 1, 2023 – Last updated: June 1, 2023


Author: Peter Mahoney

Title: Rape, Sex, Violence, and Disgrace in the Legends and Epic Texts of Medieval Spain


Journal: Romance Quarterly

Volume: 69

Issue: 3

Year: July 2022 (Published online: January 21, 2022)

Pages: 158-173

pISSN: 0883-1157 – Find a Library: WorldCat | eISSN: 1940-3216 – Find a Library: WorldCat


Keywords: Medieval History: | European History: Spanish History | Typss: Rape; Representations: Literary Texts


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)


Author: Peter Mahoney, Language, Literatures & Cultures Department, Stonehill College

Abstract: »This article identifies and explores two ways in which sex and violence are manifested in several medieval Spanish texts. In the first group of stories analyzed, rape and sexually-related violence are condemned as treacherous affronts that result in the dishonor of the female victim as well as a male figure in her orbit—namely, her father or her betrothed. Nevertheless, these episodes shed light on the admirable qualities of key female characters and often contribute to the heroic construct of the male protagonist. In the second group, the victims’ roles are limited to enduring a sexual indignity—concubinage or rape—and bearing the illegitimate child who will restore lost order. The narrators celebrate the degradation of these noblewomen as a manifestation of heroic prowess, and they either delight in her family’s disgrace or disregard the matter of honor entirely. All the episodes in question, some of which are violent in nature, add a layer of dramatism to the narration, and perhaps struck a chord with the audience on a human level. Considering some similarities between details in the stories and documented cases of sexual violence, we might imagine that the female characters inspired women who comprised a reading or listening public to act with equal bravery and resilience while navigating the dangerously male dominated world in which they lived.« (Source: Romance Quarterly)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Spain / Spain in the Middle Ages | Literature: Spanish literature / Medieval Spanish literature | Sex and the law: Rape / History of rape