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

See all articles by Ian Bryan

Ian Bryan

Lancaster University

Julie Wallbank

School of Law, University of Leeds

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Bryan, Ian and Wallbank, Julie, The Lore of Sexual Difference in Social and Legal Discourse on 'Date Rape' (2004). Law and Critique, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 183-206, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1423843

Ian Bryan (Contact Author)

Lancaster University ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

Julie Wallbank

School of Law, University of Leeds ( email )

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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