Evidence and Feminism

Feminist Jurisprudence, Women and The Law: Critical Essays and Articles, Betty W. Taylor, Sharon Rush, Robert John, eds., 1999

Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 152

41 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2013

See all articles by Aviva Orenstein

Aviva Orenstein

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

This essay reviews some of the existing literature on women and evidence and suggests some directions for future research. Part I outlines a definition of feminism and an approach to feminist analysis. Part II briefly reviews some current attempts to probe the gendered nature of evidence and to apply feminist principles. Part III considers areas such as rape shield, character evidence, and privilege where feminist goals and insights offer concrete suggestions to shape evidence law. Part IV discusses expert testimony in rape trauma and battered woman syndromes where feminism proposes no changes in evidence law per se, but instead reinvigorates existing doctrine to educate the factfinder about women’s lives. Part V analyzes the notion of courtroom “truth” and how that truth influences the reception of women in the courtroom. Part VI examines hearsay. Part VII discusses the relationship between feminist method and the adversary system. Finally Part VIII considers the effect of a feminist critique on evidence teaching and scholarship.

Keywords: evidence, feminism

Suggested Citation

Orenstein, Aviva, Evidence and Feminism (1999). Feminist Jurisprudence, Women and The Law: Critical Essays and Articles, Betty W. Taylor, Sharon Rush, Robert John, eds., 1999, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 152, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1551377

Aviva Orenstein (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-8736 (Phone)

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