Sexual robbery: the missing concept in the search for an appropriate legal metaphor for sexual aggression:
To what degree is physical assault an appropriate metaphor for rape, and to what extent is it inappropriate?
For most women, sexual aggression is much more than the assault itself. Wo men who have been victims of sexual aggression feel like something of psychological value has been taken from them - such as freedom of movement or the capacity to trust (e.g., Burgess, 1985 ). There is a very real sense in which rape and sexual abuse are not simply the application of force or threat of force, but are also robberies of a woman's ownership of her sexuality and of states of mind of great personal worth.
The alternative we are suggesting is to return to the old view of a woman's sexuality as property, but to shift ownership from the male domain to the woman herself. Under such a redefinition the use or threat of force is implied as it is in a robbery, but there is no requirement to also be hurt. In fact, women who are victims of sexual aggression most often act like bank tellers and convenience store clerks who are robbed; they do not act like people who are physically assaulted.