Sex Without Consent

Deborah Tuerkheimer

DePaul University - College of Law

September 27, 2013

Yale Law Journal Online, Vol. 23, No. 335, 2013
DePaul Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-02

Modern rape law lacks a governing principle. In "The Riddle of Rape-by-Deception and the Myth of Sexual Autonomy," Jed Rubenfeld contends that the most obvious candidate — sexual autonomy — is inadequate. I agree, though for vastly different reasons. Rubenfeld advances a conception of rape as a violation of a right to self-possession; this approach raises real problems. I introduce an alternative understanding of rape — rape as a violation of sexual agency. Theories of agency expressly contemplate its exercise under constraints. This framework thus can account for both women’s sexual violation and the value of women’s sexual subjectivity. The turn to agency provides new justification for defining rape as sex without consent.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: rape, consent, sexual agency

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Date posted: September 30, 2013 ; Last revised: March 1, 2014

Suggested Citation

Tuerkheimer, Deborah, Sex Without Consent (September 27, 2013). Yale Law Journal Online, Vol. 23, No. 335, 2013; DePaul Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-02. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2332491

Contact Information

Deborah Tuerkheimer (Contact Author)
DePaul University - College of Law ( email )
25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL Cook County 60604-2287
United States
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