What Butler Did
University of Saskatchewan - College of Law
Berger and Stribopoulos, eds., Unsettled Legacy: Thirty Years of Criminal Justice under the Charter, LexisNexis, 2012
(2012) 57 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 317.
In this brief paper, I want to argue that the focus on harm in Butler and Labaye can distort our thinking about what precisely is wrong with sexual assault. They obscure the message that certain kinds of objectification are per se wrongful, whether or not we can point to any tangible harm. Perhaps more importantly, these cases fail to provide the sort of sophisticated analysis of what makes conduct problematically objectifying in the first place. Even if these shortcomings produce no discernible effect on the way that courts decide particular cases before them, it undermines the educative function of the criminal law. This is especially problematic in the context of sexual assault, where the law must not only reflect social values, but also take a leadership role in transforming them.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Objectification, Sexual Assault, Obscenity, Public Indecency, Criminal LawAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 6, 2013
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