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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 147904 Find in a Library
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:26  Issue:2  Dated:(July 1993)  Pages:146-154
Author(s): G Reekie; P Wilson
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: Legal and criminal justice systems proceed on the masculinist assumption that a woman's body communicates her lack of consent to sexual intercourse and that a woman will physically resist sexual violence; in addition, recent changes in the legal definition of nonconsent as a positive and performative act provide women with greater protection under rape laws.
Abstract: Women are unlikely to be protected by the law, however, if their physical resistance to sexual assault results in death or injury. Because defense counsel can use the absence of serious injury to argue that the victim participated in consensual sexual intercourse, evidence of physical resistance in the form of documented injuries helps considerably in the successful prosecution and conviction of rapists. Recent rape reform laws have made significant progress in validating the range of destinctly female methods of resistance. Still, women are legally immobilized by contradictory expectations that they resist force but defend themselves without deadly force. Changes to self- defense laws are essential in the fight against male sexual violence. The authors contend that all manifestations of female resistance need to be seen as acceptable and lawful acts of self-defense in order to ensure that women subjected to sexual violence have full equality and justice under the law. Legal meanings of resistance are discussed, and research on ways women resist sexual assault is reviewed. The meaning of consent and self-defense strategies are examined. 47 references and 1 note
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Courts; Crime prevention measures; Criminology; Gender issues; Rape; Rape law reform; Rapists; Self defense; Sexual assault victims
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