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Feminist Describes Rape as 'Cultural'

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"Remember the Arapesh." Mary Lou Shields '57 told an audience at Suffolk University Law School yesterday. "Men don't rape women in Arapesh (New Guinea) society--they should be considered the vanguard of the 21st century."

Shields spoke to about 40 people on "Crimes Against Women" as part of the Women's Program at Suffolk, and discussed rape in terms of what she called a "cultural" and "historical" tradition in American life.

"It's ironic how upset people get about movies in which men are raped, such as Fortune and Men's Eyes or Deliverance, whereas in Frenzy and Cleckwork Orange the rapes and murders of women are accepted as typical of what we find on the screen," she said.

Shields cited statistics from FBI crime bulletins which show that a rape occurs in the U.S. once every 13 minutes. Other figures indicate that most rapes are committed in the home, either by forcibie entry into a residence or by a member of one's family, she explained.

"You simply cannot divorce rape from the fabric of a society, where on the top of the newspaper page you read about a nation we have been raping for years, and on the bottom you read about hitchhiking murders," Shield said.

Shields has been active in the feminist movement for over ten years and is now a freelance publicity agent. She was one of the founders of the Feminist Party in Boston.

Discussing the ways in which the press covers rape stories. Shields referred to The Boston Globe in her attack on newspaper reporting.

New Life Style

"The Globe dramatizes the deaths of those women recently murdered as part of a 'new life style.' They imply that because these women were hitchhiking--and that hasn't even been ascertained--they were responsible for the consequences of being "independent,'" she remarked.

Shields concluded her talk by noting the increasing number of self-defense programs for women, and ended by citing the new Cambridge-based group. Women Against Rape, an outgrowth of the Women's Center.

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