Women so often have been denied respect, true respect. We need to extend this to each other. The conditioning which teaches us to see each other as competitors for men’s attention also tells us that relationships between women are not as worthwhile as those between women and men. The ability to respect another human being for what she is offering is the foundation for a friendship. It is not to be taken lightly.
If you kill a person, you’re a murderer. If you steal, no one would hesitate to call you a thief. But in America, when you force yourself on someone sexually, some people will jump through flaming hoops not to call you a rapist.
Another bit from the interview of Maya Angelou in The Feminine Face of God.
(The Maya Angelou bits are the best part of this book, which otherwise comes off very dated in its discussion.)