The Lore of Sexual Difference in Social and Legal Discourse on 'Date Rape'
Law and Critique, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 183-206, 2004
Posted: 22 Jun 2009 Last revised: 11 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2004
Employing a framework strongly influenced by Foucauldian discourse theory and feminist accounts of sexual difference, this research examines data suggesting that women are most often sexually assaulted not by strangers but by men they know and that, in contrast to alleged ‘stranger rapes’, alleged acquaintance and intimate rapes appear less likely to be successfully prosecuted through to conviction. The research assesses the relevant law and, with respect to the processing of alleged rape cases, considers the extent to which police and prosecution decision-making in this area is influenced by: evidential rules; the antecedent behaviour of the relevant parties; and by notions of what constitutes acceptable sexual conduct. It also explores the significance of legal and popular discourses that work to utilise cultural assumptions regarding desire, conduct and difference in sexual relations.
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