Review of Lefkowitz

September 12, 1997

Angela Pinter's strange, disjointed and hostile letter (THES, September 5) regarding my review of Bernard Lefkowitz's book on gang rape is hard to untangle. The King's Cross rape which she seems so keen to regard as an exclusively racial attack (odd that black women are more likely than white women to be raped by black men !) was only referred to as an example of the typical stereotype of gang rape, not as a focus of analysis.

To suggest that my review is misleading on the grounds that the boys in the Lefkowitz study who gang-raped a young woman with learning difficulties were the children of paternal absence or indifference is to misunderstand that basis of his thesis. In Lefkowitz's view the boys were the product of mainstream, loving, committed, intact, supportive and religious and integrated families. It is the discrepancy between these boys, "the cream of American Youth", and the typical stereotype of the rapist that Lefkowitz incisively examines.

Pinter seems to know all the answers. She dismisses left and right responses as wrong (whatever they are) and derides my impeccable PC credentials (whatever that means). She thinks gang activity has been much researched. It is a pity that her argument is so confused and her position so unclear.

Sue Lees,

Professor of women's studies, University of North London

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