Richard Drew  /  AP
Civil rights advocate and author Andrea Dworkin speaks to a federal commission on pornography in New York in this January 1986 file photo.
updated 4/11/2005 9:04:49 PM ET 2005-04-12T01:04:49

Andrea Dworkin, a feminist who viewed pornography as a violation of women’s civil rights and a direct cause of rape and violence, has died, her agent and family said Monday. She was 58.

Dworkin died Saturday at her home in Washington, D.C., said John Stoltenberg, who married Dworkin in 1998 after living with her for three decades. She had been ill several years, and suffered from ailments including osteoarthritis.

“Pornography is used in rape — to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act,” Dworkin testified before the New York Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in 1986, according to a transcript posted on her Web site.

Dworkin’s first book, “Woman Hating,” published when she was 27, launched her lifelong advocacy on the ways pornography harms women. She campaigned frequently on the subject, helping to draft a 1983 law that defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women, her agent, Elaine Markson, said in a statement.

The law was inspired by the case of Linda Marchiano, who as Linda Lovelace appeared in the pornographic film “Deep Throat,” the statement noted.

‘Writers who help the human race evolve’
“In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve,” said fellow feminist Gloria Steinem. “Andrea is one of them.”

Dworkin, originally from Camden, N.J., wrote more than a dozen books, including “Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation,” which won the American Book Award in 2001. She was working on a book with the working title “Writing America: How Novelists Invented and Gendered a Nation,” when she died, Stoltenberg said.

A public memorial will be held in New York, said Stoltenberg, 60, an author and managing editor of AARP The Magazine. Arrangements were incomplete.

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