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Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D.
Books by Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D.


BOOK TOPICS:     Rape     Incest & Child Sexual Abuse     Femicide    

Pornography     South Africa     Other Topics

(by Subject, then Date of Publication, from most recent to least recent)


The Epidenic of Rape

The Epidemic of Rape and Child Sexual Abuse in the United States 


Diana E. H. Russell and Rebecca M. Bolen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2000.  


This long-awaited follow-up to Diana Russell's landmark 1984 book Sexual Exploitation examines the many— and often conflicting — findings of studies that have since been conducted on the incidence and prevalence of rape and child sexual abuse in the United States.  The wide variation in prevalence rates obtained by these studies — for example, rape rates ranging from 2.6‰ to 44‰ — has led many hostile critics to attack the high rates as misleading and alarmist.

Russell and Bolen's careful evaluation of 14 government- and privately-funded studies (including Russell's own) enables them to provide the best estimate to date of the prevalence of rape and child sexual abuse in the United States. They conclude that these shockingly high rates amount to an epidemic of both these crimes, most of which are perpetrated by males. Their evaluations consider the various definitions researchers have used for rape and child sexual assault, as well as their methodologies for collecting data. 

Russell and Bolen's book also addresses the absurdly reactionary backlash by misogynists who claim that high rates of rape are fabricated by feminist researchers, including Dr. Russell.  Convinced that accurate information about the magnitude of the problems of rape and child sexual abuse in the United States in society is vital to the theory, prevention, treatment for the victims/survivors of these crimes, and the development of laws to better combat them and punish the perpetrators, Russell and Bolen have produced a ground-breaking resource that is a must-read book for those who study, educate about, and help the women and girls who are victims of sexual assault.


“This is a fascinating book that will have wide appeal to academicians and scholars in the field.  Dr. Russell's outstanding reputation in the field should sell any book and this book is another example of her excellent work… I offer my highest praises for this book and believe it will become an instant 'classic.'” 
— Helen M. Eigenberger, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the School of Social and Community Services, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“This long-awaited follow up to Diana Russell's landmark book Sexual Exploitation (SAGE, 1984) examines the studies that have since been conducted on the incidence and prevalence of rape and child sexual abuse in the United States. The author evaluations consider the various definitions researchers have used, as well as the methodologies used for collecting data. The book answers the backlash criticism - from both feminists and anit-feminists - that reports of high sexual assault rates are exaggerated. Accurate information, the authors show, is vital to preventing these crimes, and this book is a `must read' for those who study, educate, and help women and girls who are victims of sexual assault.”


Sexual Exploitation: Rape, Child Sexual Abuse & Harassment

Sexual Exploitation: Rape, Child Sexual Abuse & Workplace Harassment

Diana E. H. Russell, (8th printing), Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1984 and London, England: Sage Publications, 1984. 


In Sexual Exploitation, Diana E. H. Russell criticizes the academic literature on rape, child sexual abuse, and workplace harassment because of its compartmentalization of the theories and empirical research on these three forms of sexual assault.  By focusing on the issue of causation — a fundamental research question in the study of any crime — Dr. Russell brilliantly succeeds in breaking down these divisions by demonstrating that these three different forms of sexual assault are caused by many of the same social and cultural factors. By contributing to a better integration of these three subfields, Sexual Exploitation facilitates a deeper understanding of their interrelatedness.


“Diana E. H. Russell's superb analysis of empirical research on several forms of sexual exploitation is as insightful as it is comprehensive.  Including the important new information from her own unparalleled study, Russell's critical synthesis doubles as a reference update and a stimulating yet balanced contribution to the debate on sexuality and violence.” 
— Catharine A. MacKinnon, Ph.D., Law Professor and author of Feminism Unmodified.

“In every field there are a few conceptual thinkers who are able to compile what is known about a subject in ways that advance us to the next level of knowledge.  Diana Russell is such a scholar, and this book represents such a step.  It is the substantive diagnosis of an untreated societal disease of epidemic proportions.”
— Kee MacFarlane, MSW, author of Sexual Abuse of Young Children.

“… Russell's survey on sexual assault is the best that's been done…   With this book, the impressive findings from that survey are finally available to the public and professionals.  Russell convincingly shows that sexual exploitation occurs in mammoth proportions, and she presents the first hard data to answer dozens of questions that up until now have only been the subjects of heated debate.  This is a giant step forward in our accumulation of knowledge about rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.” 
— David Finkelhor, Ph.D., author of Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse.       


Rape In Marriage

                Rape In Marriage                                           

Diana E. H. Russell, New York: Macmillan, 1982. Revised/expanded edition, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990.


Drawing on the results of her San Francisco survey, Dr. Russell wrote the first book ever published on Rape in Marriage at a time when husbands were still exempted from prosecution for raping their wives in the vast majority of states.

This classic text has been updated and expanded to include recent findings and legal developments.  It includes a completely revised state-by-state listing of marital rape exemption laws and an invaluable bibliography on wife rape.  In her ground-breaking National Institute of Mental Health-funded study, Dr. Diana Russell found that a minimum of 14 percent of American women who have ever been married have been raped by a husband or ex-husband - one out of every seven married women.  In this eye-opening work, Russell explores many disturbing questions raised by her findings.  For example:  Why is rape in marriage so often downplayed, even by the wife-victims themselves?  Why is wife-rape so prevalent, and to what extent is it caused by the traditional American family structure?

Here is what some of these women interviewed for “Rape in Marriage” told the interviewer:

“My husband felt he owned me and the children.  Our third child was the result of out-and-out rape.  I didn't realize there was a way out.  After 14 years I cracked up.”

“I was still living with my husband.  We got into an argument about the divorce.  He didn't want it and he told me he wanted to get me pregnant so I wouldn't leave him.  Then, he slapped and threw me around, tore my clothes off and raped me.”

“One time he wanted to have sex and I didn't.  When I woke up in the morning I was tied in bed.  To make a long story short, he assaulted me.  Then he said, 'You're never supposed to refuse your husband.”


“The fundamental purpose of Russell's research was to contribute to the swift abolition of sexual violence from contemporary life, and Rape in Marriageserves that purpose brilliantly.” 
— Benjamin DeMott, Ph.D., reviewer for Psychology Today.

“Sociologist Diana Russell uses field research to give us a pioneering and deeply unsettling study of rape in marriage… This is a ground-breaking contribution to the literature of sexual assault and family violence from a compassionate scholar who is also a leading feminist theoretician.” 
— Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will.

“[Russell] has done a superb study which yields comprehensive and undeniable findings about a subject no one had even whispered about before … a classic work.” 
— Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., Professor and author of Women, Money and Power.


The Politics of Rape

The Politics of Rape: The Victim's Perspective

Diana E. H. Russell, New York: Stein & Day, first edition 1975. New York: Madison Books, second edition 1984.  Republished, Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, third edition 2003.


In her pioneer book, The Politics of Rape (1975, 1984), Diana E. H. Russell was among the first feminist writers to offer a revolutionary new understanding of rape as a manifestation of sexism.  In a series of beautifully executed but wrenching interviews with 22 eloquent rape survivors, we learn about the excruciating pain, trauma, and long-term consequences caused by mens' misogynist attitudes and behavior toward women.  Thankfully, Russell also provides a much-needed final chapter on how to combat rape. . 


“This is the best book I know of on the subject of the all-American crime of rape.” 
— Women's Press.

The Politics of Rape is one hell of a courageous book.  It was meant not only as an exposition of a situation, but as a tool for political change.”
— David Graber, Human Behavior.

“Dr. Russell's interviews (and those of her associates) are notable for their sensitivity to the less tangible human and political issues involved in this ultimate act of aggression.” 
— Publishers Weekly    

Incest and Child Sexual Abuse

Behind Closed Doors In White South Africa:

Behind Closed Doors In White South Africa: Incest Survivors Tell Their Stories.






Click here to read in full online:  Behind Closed Doors in White South Africa

Diana E. H. Russell, Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K.: Macmillan Press, 1997.  US Edition: New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.


The intent of this book is to tear away the veil of secrecy that surrounds incestuous abuse in white South Africa by presenting five in-depth personal accounts of this heinous form of sexual exploitation as told by the survivors. Each of these accounts includes an analysis of important incest-related issues raised by the survivor's story. Another objective is to explore the connections between the often cruel sexual exploitation of girls by their white male relatives and the brutal exploitation of black people by white men in South Africa.

 The stories in this book will open the doors of white homes in which incest has occurred – doors that have been closed until now – to expose some of the best-kept secrets of these white South Africans. In doing so, Dr. Russell hopes to add a new dimension to our understanding of the white South African mentality.


“The case studies in Behind Closed Doors are remarkable for detail, insight and communicative prose; masterpieces of the ethnographic literature.  Students were blown away.  Although based in South Africa, Behind Closed Doors says more about incest in America than any book I can recall.” 
— Lee Bowker, Professor and author of Beating Wife-Beating.

“Russell, who was born in South Africa, breaks through the wall of secrecy surrounding incest in that community, and explores the night-follows-day relationship between repressive patriarchal politics and family structures, connecting the sexual exploitation of young girls by their white male relatives to the brutal exploitation of black people by white men during apartheid.” 
— Lauren Sandler, Ms. Magazine.      

Incestuous Abuse: It's Long Term Effects

Incestuous Abuse: Its Long-Term Effects


Diana E. H. Russell, Pretoria, South Africa: The Human Sciences Research Council Publishers, 1995.


For far too long incest in South Africa has been a subject clouded in secrecy and veiled in taboos. What little research has been done in South Africa seems to suggest that victims of incestuous abuse did not suffer any long-term effects. However, this exploratory study by Dr. Diana Russell, an internationally recognized expert on the issue, shows otherwise. Encouraged by her concern, twenty incest survivors spoke openly of their horrifying experiences and the destructive effects they had on their childhood and their adult lives, their families, their romantic relationships, and their marriages.

While this study only represents the beginning of in-depth research on the issue, its impact will be far-reaching. Not only will it stimulate further research but, more importantly, it will hopefully encourage incest survivors to speak openly of their experiences, thereby shattering the silence that shields the perpetrators and imprisons the victims.


The Secret Trauma: Incest In The

The Secret Trauma: Incest In The Lives Of Girls and Women



Diana E. H. Russell, New York: Perseus Press, 1986. Republished, New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Japanese edition of The Secret Trauma

The Secret Trauma: Incest In The Lives Of Girls and Women— Japanese Edition

Diana E. H. Russell’s The Secret Trauma translated into Japanese by Satoru Saito, Ph.D. Tokyo, Japan: Health Work Association, 2002.


Many scholars consider Dr. Russell’s survey-based book, The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women, to be the definitive scientific study of incestuous abuse.  In it she provides the first rigorous scientific assessments of the shockingly high prevalence of incestuous and extrafamilial child sexual abuse.  Her finding that more than one out of every three girls in her survey has been a victim of child sexual abuse has become the most widely accepted statistic on this form of sexual violation.


“Diana Russell has a rare ability to combine dispassionate scholarship with passionate commitment to the cause of women.  With daring and persistence, she has documented the fact that incest is endemic to our culture.  This is a definitive work which will be used as a point of reference for years to come.” 
— Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Father-Daughter Incest

“Russell combines an empathetic understanding with stringent scholarship…  The Secret Trauma will be invaluable in helping to combat the denial of incestuous abuse and remediate its effects.” 
— Sally L. Pettrus, New York Times Book Review       

“Here are the answers to the questions we have been debating for years.  Russell's study is the best one to date and a model for all those striving for a compassionate social science.  The Secret Trauma eloquently captures the victims' personal experience while marshalling the scientific evidence in a compelling and painstaking way.” 
— David Finkelhor, Ph.D., author of Child Sexual Abuse    



 Femicide book cover

             Femicide in Global Perspective

Diana E. H. Russell & Roberta A. Harmes (Eds.), New York: Teachers College Press, 2001.

Spanish edition of Global Femicide

Femicidio: Una Perspectiva Global — Spanish Edition


Diana E. H. Russell’s co-edited book, Femicide in Global Perspective, Translated into Spanish by Guillermo Vega Saragoza. Introduction by Marcela Lagarde y de los Rios.  Mexico, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, 2006.


The naming and definition of newly recognized forms of women's oppression is essential before they can be satisfactorily analyzed, and/or before organized attempts can be made to combat or prevent them.  The naming of sexual harassment, for example, was a vital first step towards the creation of legislation to prosecute such offenses.  The major goals are to bring the seriousness of femicide to public's attention, and to highlight the importance of winning greater acceptance for this term in the hope that it will soon be incorporated into the vocabulary of all wo/men working in the area of violence against women, and subsequently — like the term sexual harassment — become part of everywo/man's vocabulary.

An edited anthology that includes the best of the articles in which the authors have specifically used the term femicide, will help to demonstrate why it is so important to add this concept to those that already exist in the field of violence against women.  The purpose of Femicide in Global Perspective is to show feminists, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom, that this word is already being used in other countries, and to demonstrate why its more enthusiastic adoption is of crucial importance.


“No reader will leave this landmark anthology without understanding the politics of global femicide — the killing of females because they are females. No personal, public, or international library should be without it.” 
— Gloria Steinem, Founder of Ms. Magazine, and author of Revolution From Within.

“This searing indictment of lethal patriarchal violence against women is a first-in its uncompromising scholarship, political courage, global scope,  and unabashedly justified passion. Bravo to Russell and Harmes.” 
— Robin Morgan, author of Saturdays Child: A Memoir.

“If you intend to face, rather than deny, the reality of the world women live in, and lose their lives in, read this book.” 
— Catharine A. MacKinnon, Professor of Law and author of Feminism Unmodified..

“This is an important book for all those who care about the lives of women. It focuses attention on the murder of women and girls because they are female in its many deadly guises around the world and eloquently argues for the necessity of naming it what  it is: femicide.”
— Charlotte Bunch


Femicide: The Politics Of Woman Killing

Femicide: The Politics Of Woman Killing


Femicide: The Politics Of Woman Killing — Spanish Edition

Jill Radford & Diana E. H. Russell (Eds.), New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992 and Buckingham, England: Open University Press, 1992.  Reprinted, Ann Arbor: UMI, Books on Demand, 2003.

Translated into Spanish by Tlatolli Ollin.  Introduction by Marcela Lagarde y de los Rios.  Mexico, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, 2006.

Read: Femicide: The Politics of Women Killing


Dr. Russell and British researcher Jill Radford documented the widespread occurrence of misogynist murders of women in this anthology on femicide.  A wife and mother is killed in her home by her husband.  A young, single woman is killed by a serial murderer, Great Britain's Yorkshire Ripper.  Fourteen female students are shot to death at the University of Montreal by mass murderer Marc Lépine.  All of these women are victims of femicide, the misogynist killing of females by males.  But the motivation for such violence is rarely acknowledged.  The murderer's behavior is usually viewed as aberrant and unexplainable; he is a “beast” or an “animal,” not a man who has committed a lethal misogynist act. 

Lynching is recognized as motivated by racism; pogroms by anti-Semitism; so why has it been so difficult to establish the connection between femicide and sexism?  The connection is made repeatedly in Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing.  While the issues of date rape and sexual harassment have finally entered into mainstream discourse, femicide, the most brutal form of sexist behavior, has yet to be widely acknowledged and understood. 

In this wide-ranging study, more than 40 contributors document and describe the phenomenon of femicide as it occurs across continents and cultures, analyze the roles that social values and institutions play in perpetuating it, and articulate the actions that can be taken to combat it.  Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing is at once a disturbing testimony to the many women who have been victims of femicide and an act of resistance.  This superb collection helps us to understand this seriously neglected form of violence against women.


“This creative collection defines for the first time where the sexist face of genocide meets the genocidal face of sexism.  Femicide is a milestone in comprehending a social world that wants - even loves - men dead.” 
— Catharine A. MacKinnon, Law Professor and coauthor of Pornography and Civil Rights.

“A powerful and informative book, Femicide places the subject of woman killing in its frighteningly 'normal' context.  The result is a cross-cultural and historical study - from witch burning to suttee, from female infanticide to the traffic in sexual slaves, from the propaganda of violent pornography to the politics of patriarchy.  A stunning 'must-read' book.” 
— Robin Morgan, author of Sisterhood is Global.

The first of its kind - and a classic.  This book should be required reading for everyone:  college students and their professors, policy makers and business people, lawyers and judges, police officers and members of the clergy.  It raises our consciousness and inspires resistance to femicide.” 
— Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., Professor and author Mothers on Trial.



Dangerous Relationships: Pornography,

Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny and Rape

Diana E. H. Russell, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1998.(Revised, expanded edition of Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm, Berkeley, CA: Russell Publications, 1994.) 


Dangerous Relationships is a revised, expanded edition of Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm.  In contrast to Against Pornography, which contains approximately 120 examples of pictorial pornography,Dangerous Relationships includes descriptions of these pictures.  This made it possible to obtain a publisher for this book, instead of having to self-publish it as was the case with Against Pornography. Since Dr. Russell did not obtain permission to publish the pictures included in Against Pornography, it proved impossible for her to find a publisher willing to take the risk of being sued for copyright infringement.

Dangerous Relationships also includes a greatly augmented section on studies of the contents of pornography, and another section reporting the results of several public opinion polls showing the widespread opposition to pornography by individuals who had no college education.  Many people are surprised to learn that it is the more highly educated members of the United States population who are responsible for claiming that pornography is harmless.

Dangerous Relationships also includes a lengthy explication of Dr. Russell's theory that pornography is a significant cause of rape and other forms of violence against women.  Russell chose an academic publisher for this book because she wanted her case against pornography to reach this mostly pro-pornography market.


“Diana E. H. Russell's Dangerous Relationships makes a unique and  valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion of pornography's harms to women and children. Dr. Russell describes the relevant materials vividly and synthesizes current empirical research informatively.  She offers an original, powerful, cohesive, compelling, and smart theory of the ways pornography causally promotes sexual abuse. Her lucid analysis and accessible style make this a book for scholars and the general public alike.” 
— Catharine A. MacKinnon, Professor of Law and author of Feminism Unmodified.

“Until women insisted on the truth of our experience, rape was thought to be about sex. Now we know it is about power, humiliation, and control. Until Diana E. H. Russell's Dangerous Relationships, readers may have thought that pornography was about sex. Now it will be clear that it is about woman-hatred: pornography is to females what Nazi literature is to Jews, and Ku Klux Klan propaganda is to blacks.  Read this book. Give it to everyone you know. Expose and boycott a $10 billion-a-year pornography industry that is twice the size of Hollywood.” 
— Gloria Steinem, Founder of Ms. Magazine, and author of Revolution From Within.

Dangerous Relationships describes a group of more than a hundred pornographic pictures and reviews research on the relationship between pornography and the victimization of women. The value of the central text of the book is beyond compare, as Diana E. H.. Russell relentlessly pursues her thesis that pornography not only demeans and humiliates women, it also motivates men to victimize women in numerous ways. Russell's arguments are always carefully thought out, clearly stated in the most parsimonious manner, and fearless in their challenging of common stereotypes held by professionals and the lay public alike… Anyone interested in rape, pornography, or the    relation between them, as well as the broader victimization of women must read this book. It is one of the most forthright, innovative and exciting treatments of these topics that you will ever read in your life.” 
— Lee H. Bowker, Ph.D., Professor and author of Masculinities and Violence

“Diana Russell is an eminent scholar with a distinguished academic career as a professor of sociology, and an international reputation for the quality of her research in the field of sexual exploitation.  She is also a feminist anti-pornography activist. In Dangerous Relationships, she brings together and builds on all of this. Most women and some men think pornography is `just sex.' They are unaware of the violence and abuse, and the dehumanization and degradation of women in pornography, or of the bigotry, contempt, and hatred of women it fosters, or the evidence of harm experienced by women and children in the making of pornography or as a result of its use. The pornography industry thrives on this ignorance. In this book Professor Russell argues the case against pornography with scientific evidence of the causal relationship between pornography and sexual violence.”
— Catherine Itzin, Research Professor and author of Pornography: Women Violence and Civil Liberties

“In Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape, Diana Russell brings her long feminist career as a rigorous scholar and deeply committed activist together to confront pornography. Here she definitively establishes causal connections between pornography and rape. Relying on her own in-depth research and the most up-to-date work in the field, Russell makes us see pornography today in all of its woman-hating manifestations.Dangerous Relationships is a must read call to action to feminists and everyone who hopes for a world that has taken control over its violence and decadence.” 
— Kathleen Barry, Ph.D., Professor and author of Female Sexual Slavery

Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm

Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm

Diana E. H. Russell, Berkeley, California: Russell Publications, 1994.


Over 100 examples of pornographic photographs are included in Against Pornography accompanied by analyses of the misogyny evident in each picture.  Russell chose to risk being sued for publishing these pictures without obtaining permission from the pornographers because she believes that seeing pornography is the most powerful evidence of the woman-hatred inherent in it.

Against Pornography also contains a succinct summary of some of the major scientific research on this subject, and an explication of her original and convincing theory of how pornography causes rape.

Please read the excerpted article on our site.


“I am greatful for the commitment of individuals like you who educate others about violence and pornography and the measures necessary for its eradication. Hillary joins e in sending best wishes” — President Bill Clinton, The White House, Washington, Nov. 20, 1995.

“Diana Russell has given us the ultimate proof of the impact and reality of pornography. Anyone who believes it to be less harmful than Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, and other hate/atrocity literature, or who imagines its opponents to be anti-sex or pro-censorship, must face the facts and images in Against Pornography… Used properly, it could save women's lives.” 
— Gloria Steinem, Founder of Ms. Magazine and author of Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.

“As they say: 'A picture is worth a thousand words.'  Add Diana Russell's carefully chosen words to the picture she is showing us, and suddenly, unexpectedly, one realizes that this has never been done before.  No academic has ever dared to reproduce the pornographic images themselves and then commented upon them.  The effect is profoundly enlightening, sobering and challenging.  Brava, Diana, for your determination and originality.” 
— Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., Professor and author of About Men.

“Diana Russell's careful analysis of the causal connection between pornography and rape in Against Pornography is the most lucid and persuasive I have read.  After distinguishing between pornography and erotica, Diana has reprinted standard woman-hating, vicious and violent pornographic depictions — from cartoons through hard-core porn.  Now when we speak about pornography we all will know precisely what we are talking about.  Bravo and thank you Diana Russell for your brilliant analysis, your courage and commitment.” 
— Jane Caputi, Ph.D., Professor & Author of The Age of Sex Crime.

“Feminists have long tried to explain exactly how pornography hurts women.  In this book Diana Russell combines a logically compelling argument with research evidence which shows that pornography actually causes some men to rape women.  But just as important: for the first time in a feminist book about pornography she shows us the images which, she says, teach men to rape women so the reader can see for herself what the pornography debate is all about.  Judge For Yourself!”
— Melissa Farley, Ph.D., Editor of Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress

“Even in our wildest imaginations, most women are unable to fathom the vicious acts done to women by the pornography industry in the name of free speech, profit, pleasure, and, yes, entertainment.  Facing head-on the hatred and contempt for women exposed in visual pornography, as much as it hurts, fuels our anger and a lot of incendiary activism.  I personally tore up several hundred pornography magazines in convenience stores throughout Santa Cruz after attending Diana's feminist anti-pornography slide presentation at UC-Santa Cruz.” 
— Nikki Craft, Feminist activist against woman-hatred.


Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views On Pornography

Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views On Pornography

Diana E. H. Russell (Ed.), New York: Teacher's College Press, 1993 and Buckingham, England: Open University Press, 1993.

Click to Read: Making Violence Sexy


Making Violence Sexy is a collection of feminist articles, including testimonies by survivors of pornography, that together make a convincing case for the view that pornography (as distinct from erotica) causes harm to women, including acts of violence.

The volume is organized into four parts, the first of which provides vivid and moving personal accounts of how women's lives have been damaged by pornography.  Part two gives a thorough overview of the present status of pornography in our society, as well as the raging debate over pornography and censorship.  Part three details several interesting and significant studies on the effects of pornography, as well as critiques of some of the most influential non-feminist researchers.  The concluding part then describes actions, both humorous and grave, that feminists have employed in their fight against pornography.  Contributors include:  Andrea Dworkin, Patricia Hill Collins, Catharine MacKinnon, Gloria Steinem, and John Stoltenberg. 


“A crucially important collection of feminist voices challenging the pornocrats.  Even if you read nothing else on the subject, read this.” 
— Robin Morgan, author of Saturdays Child: A Memoir.

Making Violence Sexy is the best general source on eroticized woman-abuse and its effects.  There is a feeling of insight and intellectual excitement in these pages, and of anger and determination.  Pick up this little-publicized book, and the Anti-Violence Against Women Movement of the '90's suddenly springs to life, surprisingly alive and well, and perhaps gaining strength.” 
— Robert Brannon, Professor of Psychology, Brooklyn College.

Making Violence Sexy … will give many a new insight into the dark side of sexually explicit material.  Professionals will be provided with accurate studies and data that paint a bleak outcome from what was once thought harmless material.” 
— Sherry Potter.




Lives Of Courage: Women For A New South Africa

Diana E. H. Russell, New York: Basic Books, 1989. Cape Town, South Africa: David Philip Publishers, 1990. London, England: Virago Press, 1990. New York: Basic Books, 1991 (Paperback). Republished, Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2003.

Edited and translated into French by F. Siety: Apartheid: Winnie Mandela et des Femmes d'Afrique du Sud racontent… Paris, France: First Inc., 1991. (Out of print)


In 1987 and 1988, Dr. Diana Russell journeyed from the United States to the land of her birth to learn about the special role of women in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  The fruit of her research is this extraordinary book: the firsthand accounts, in their own words, of 24 courageous risk-taking women activists (portraits included).  These are not only world-famous leaders like Winnie Mandela and Albertina Sisulu (although their stories are included in the book) but ordinary women who were trade unionists, members of radical organizations, student activists — black and white, African, Indian and Coloured, young and old.  They tell of the price they have paid for their involvement, the terrors they have endured and the dreams they nourished for a new South Africa.

Lives of Courage compellingly dramatizes the little-known role of women who fought apartheid and its cruel apparatus — banning, banishment, house arrest, imprisonment, and torture — even as they strove to keep together their beleaguered families.  With rare candor, they speak of the price they and their families paid for their activism, of the difficulties of being a woman in a racist and sexist society, of the terrors they had endured, and of the dreams they nourished of a new South Africa.  The fighting spirit of these women, their courage and conviction in the face of a modern states's vindictiveness, shines from every page of this inspiring book.

Lives of Courage was one of the first feminist books to be published in South Africa.  Although it focuses on women's unsung contributions to the anti-apartheid struggle, it also presents for the first time the objections to sexism by many of these women.


“When I read a book such as Lives of Courage I fairly burst with pride and expectation — pride that South African soil has produced such indomitable women and not the least the author herself; and expectation at the contribution such women will continue to make in a post-apartheid South Africa.  Diana Russell exposes us to the burning fire of women who are not prepared to wait for matters to be decided for them.  Their stories utterly refute those who believe an individual cannot make a difference.  This remarkable book is a manifesto of hope.  May it be an inspiration to many.” 
— Desmond M. Tutu, Former Anglican Archbishop, South Africa.

“We find Diana Russell's work to be courageous, informative, and stimulating.  Through the unpretentious accounts of these remarkable women, Lives of Courage paints a very convincing canvas of the rich and brave lives of the women of South Africa, their humanness and resilience in the face of demanding odds, their dignified selflessness in serving the cause of the oppressed, and their determination to transform South Africa in the context of revolution.  Lives of Courage should go a long way in assisting the struggle in South Africa, especially the international aspect of it, which grows ever more significant in the current political climate.” 
— Oliver Tambo, President, African National Congress, Zambia.

“By focusing on women as individuals rather than as mothers, wives, and daughters, Lives of Courage makes a very important and valuable contribution.  In so doing, it differs from the usual way that women are perceived in South Africa, and puts the issue of women as people on the national agenda.” 
— Mamphela Ramphele, M.D., co-author of Uprooting Poverty, South Africa.

“These magnificent women, known and unknown, represent the spirit of personal courage and deep humanity that knows not only how to resist, but to build. They fill me with pride and confidence in a free South Africa.” 
— Nadine Gordimer, author of Burgher's Daughter and Winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“It is a blessing just to live on the same earth as these women.”
— Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple.

“Diana Russell has produced a timely tribute to the heroism of women in the forefront of the fight against apartheid.  Her book illuminates the intensity of that fight as experienced by twenty-four women activists whose own words speak volumes.” 
— Donald Woods, journalist and author of Steve Biko.


Other Topics

Rebellion, Revolution and Armed Force:

Rebellion, Revolution and Armed Force: A Comparative Study Of Fifteen Countries With Special Emphasis on Cuba and South Africa

Diana E. H. Russell, New York: Academic Press, 1974.  Reprinted, Ann Arbor, MI.:UMI, Books on Demand.


This book was banned in South Africa as “undesirable.”

The successful Cuban rebellion of 1958-1959 is often cited as proof that oppressive policies backfire, and that even the strongest army can be overcome by a resolute band of rebels. Yet the South African regime has been oppressive for many years without being disturbed by a mass rebellion. Why? The key, according to Professor Russell, author of this most original study of modern rebellions, is the willingness of the armed forces to fight the ancien regime.

This book is primarily a systematic study of fourteen twentieth-century rebellions – seven successful and seven unsuccessful – with special emphasis on the behavior of the establishment armed forces in each instance. It begins by comparing the oppressiveness of the regimes of pre-rebellion Cuba and present-day South Africa. Finding the South African regime even more oppressive than the Cuban regime, the author argues that, according to most theories of the etiology of rebellion and revolution, a rebellion should have occurred in South Africa. This leads to a reevaluation of prevailing theories of the nature of rebellion in the light of detailed analysis of the fourteen actual rebellions. 

This is a book that goes beyond the rhetoric in an area where, all too often, rhetoric prevails. It offers the kind of fresh, penetrating analysis that will make it indispensable reading not only for students and professionals in sociology, history, political science, and the policy sciences, but also for all citizens interested in rebellion as a social and historical phenomenon.



  Exposing Nuclear Phallacies

Exposing Nuclear Phallacies

Diana E. H. Russell (Ed.), New York: Teacher's College Press, 1989.  Reprinted, Ann Arbor, MI: UMI, Books on Demand, 2003.


Exposing Nuclear Phallacies is a powerful international collection of articles which tackles a subject of the utmost urgency and importance to us all, taking as its theme the significance of socialized gender differences in the origin and perpetuation of the nuclear threat. Together, the contributors present a challenge to the women's movement to actively respond to this historic crisis, offer an incentive and guide for the transformation of the anti-nuclear movement, and provide a catalyst for change that may literally help to save all of us and the planet on which we live.

An important text in women's studies, feminist theory, peace studies, social movements and social problems, this will also be a book which those who are concerned about the nuclear threat cannot afford to ignore.


Exposing Nuclear Phallacies was designated an Outstanding Book on human rights in the United States by the Gustavus Myers Center, Fayetteville, Arizona, December 1990.

Exposing Nuclear Phallacies poses an urgent challenge to women all over the world to intervene against the nuclear threat.  Written by an impressive collection of feminist activists and scholars, this book offers a prescription for radical change, which, it posits, only women are capable of bringing about.” 
— Susan Davis.


Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis

Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis

Robin R. Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E. H. Russell, Susan Leigh Star (Eds.), San Francisco, California: Frog in the Well, 1982.


A courageous and ground-breaking anthology in which 26 contributors critique the defense and practice of sadomasochism as compatible with feminists principles. Most of the essays focus on sadomasochism in the lesbian community. They reject the claim by some women pro-sm advocates that heterosexual sadomasochism is sexist and harmful but lesbian sadomasochism is liberating and healthy. The accounts of survivors of sadomasochism about the destructiveness of sm in their lives is particularly compelling.


Crimes Against Women

Crimes Against Women: The Proceedings of the International Tribunal

Read online here at this site!

Click HERE.





Diana E. H. Russell and N. Van de Ven.(Eds.), Millbrae, California: Les Femmes; First Printing, 1976. Reprinted, San Francisco, California: Frog in the Well, 1982.

Translated into Italian by N. Casperini: Crimini Contra le Donne: Atti del Tribunal Internazionale, 1977.

Translated into Dutch: Misdaden Tegen de Vrouw: Tribunal Brussel 1976.  Amsterdam: Feministiese Uitgeverij de Bonte Was, 1977. 


Crimes Against Women is the electrifying story of what happened at theTribunal in Brussels.  The authors recreate the incidents, record the shocking personal testimony, discuss the resolutions and proposals for change, analyze the media's response, and assess the impact of those five incredible days when international feminism was born.

The Tribunal inspired many of the feminist participants to create organizations and engage in actions in their home countries that they had learned about at this massive international consciousness-raiser.  Some feminists believe that the International Tribunal was the beginning of the movement against violence against women in Western Europe.


“I hold this meeting to be a great historic event…   Women coming from all over the world will become conscious of the scandal of their condition…   TheTribunal is in itself a feat.  It heralds more to come.  I salute this Tribunalas being the start of a radical decolonization of women.” 
— Simone de Beauvoir, author of The Second Sex.

“This is a document of integrity of extreme importance to feminists everywhere.  It is more than an analysis of the growing pains of international feminism.  It is proof that the international movement is alive and well and cannot be stopped.” 
— Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will.

“This book is a miracle. For the first time in 5,000 years, the enforced silence of women around the world has been broken.  The testimonies are inspiring, dreadful, objective, and overwhelmingly moving.” 
— Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., Professor and author of Women and Madness.

“The role of Mills College sociology professor Diana Russell in helping to plan and organize the tribunal, and in afterwards collecting the documentation and producing this book, is worthy of a study in itself…   Many women worked with her, … but the miracle of turning transcripts and hundreds of scraps of notes into a book is Diana Russell's.” 
— Elise Boulding, Ph.D.


 An Unpublished and Incomplete Draft of a Book

Diana E. H. Russell

Stolen Innocence: The Damaging Effects of Child Pornography - On and Off the Internet 

NOTE: This book is available to read ONLINE IN FULL on this website, please click the link above to read it.

Introduction [excerpt]

In the past decade, public concern about child pornography and other forms of child sexual abuse has greatly intensified.The fact that numerous survivors of child sexual abuse were finally motivated to accuse the priests and other officials in the Catholic Church who had sexually abused them -- sometimes for years -- has contributed to this concern. The widespread coverup of these crimes by Catholic Bishops and other prominent churchmen has also magnified the public scandal -- that is far from over today (June, 16, 2003).

Although child pornography is not a prominent feature of the public's horrified reaction to this scandal, the use by some priests of child pornography in their arsenal of seductive strategies has also come to light. In addition, because pedophiles -- most of whom are obsessed with looking at and collecting child pornography (ref) -- are the major perpetrators of the child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the twin issues of child porn and child sexual abuse have even caught the attention of President Bush, John Ashcroft, and other prominent government officials to an unprecedented degree. Furthermore, many legislators have been working for years to draft legislation to provide law enforcement officers with the means to combat child porn on the Internet more effectively.

Whereas adult porn is often falsely conceptualized as harmless "fantasy" -- as if it were a victimless pursuit -- child pornography is widely recognized as victimizing children in the very process of producing it. It is the recognition that children are unable to consent to being used in pornography, as well as the awareness of the damaging consequences of child pornrelated sexual abuse, that has prevented freedom of speech from being used as an obstacle to the criminalization of child porn.

Major Goal of Stolen Innocence

Legislation to criminalize the production, distribution, and consumption of child porn has always been based on the fact that its production requires the sexual exploitation of a children. Therefore, it is not that surprising that the majority opinion of the Supreme Court justices struck down the government's legislation criminalizing computer-generated child pornography (which does not use actual children in production) in 2002 on the grounds that it "is not intrinsically related to the sexual abuse of children" (p. A1/A16).  






1. The following 8 books should be ordered from their publishers, or on the Internet, such as Amazon.com, Alibris.com, etc.

Femicide in Global Perspective.  New York: Teachers College Press, 2001.

The Epidemic of Rape and Child Sexual Abuse in the United States.  Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 2000.

The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women.  Second edition with a new introduction.  New York: Basic Books/Perseus Press, 1999. 

Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape.  Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1998.  Revised, expanded edition of Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm (see below).

Behind Closed Doors in White South Africa: Incest Survivors Tell Their Stories.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Rape in Marriage.  Revised/expanded edition.  Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990.

Sexual Exploitation: Rape, Child Sexual Abuse, and Workplace Harassment.  Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1984. 

The Politics of Rape.  1st Published in 1975.  Republished by iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2003.

2. The following 5 books are no longer in print, but used copies may be for sale on the Internet

Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views on Pornography (An anthology).  New York: Teachers College Press, 1993.

Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing (An anthology; Jill Radford, 1st editor).  New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992. 

Lives of Courage: Women for a New South Africa.  1st Published in 1975.  Republished by iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2003.  

Exposing Nuclear Phallacies(An anthology).  New York: Teachers College Press, 1989. 

Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis  (An anthology: Robin Linden, 1st editor).  San Francisco, California: Frog in the Well, 1982. 

3. New copies of the following 2 books are only available to those customers who can pay in US dollars because I am unable to handle other currencies. If you wish to order a copy of one or both of these books, click on the link below for Russell Publications and send an email to order. Checks or money orders must be made out to Diana E. H. Russell, and sent to her at 2432 Grant Street, Berkeley, California 94703, USA.  Also click on it if you have any questions for Diana.

Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm.  Berkeley, California: Russell Publications, 1994.  Price: $13 plus $4 for postage & handling.

Crimes Against Women: The Proceedings of the International Tribunal.  First edition, 1976.  Distributed by Russell Publications.  Price: $10 plus $4 for postage & handling.

An electronic copy of Crimes Against Women is also available for free on my website at dianarussell.com.

Used copies of these 2 books may be for sale on the Internet

Russell Publications

4. I have a few new and/or used copies of the following books that can be ordered from Russell Publications, and paid for in US dollars, with checks or money orders made out to Diana E. H. Russell.  Find the complete information about these book above.

The Secret Trauma (First edition; identical to second edition except for new introduction).  Price for new: $13 plus $5 for postage & handling.

Lives of Courage.  Price for new: $13 plus $5 for postage & handling.



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