Protecting the Dignity and Autonomy of Women: Rethinking the Place of Constructive Consent in the Tort of Sexual Battery
University of British Columbia Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 3, 2006
60 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2011 Last revised: 10 Nov 2011
Date Written: 2006
Sexual wrongdoing is a fundamental violation of a person's personal autonomy, bodily integrity, and security. Victims, often already vulnerable, are further denied the right to self-determination, sexual autonomy, and human dignity.' As a result, victims of sexual abuse are increasingly seeking redress through the civil justice system either as a complement to or in substitution of criminal prosecution. A tort claim may provide personal and meaningful remedies for victimization, although there is room for improvement. Survivors have not always found justice in torts although tort liability is generally based on a standard of proof lower than that applied in criminal law, liability for sexual wrongdoing tends to require a higher threshold. However, unlike other tort cases, findings of liability for sexual wrongdoing often carry a stigma and are viewed as a reflection of depravity-hence the higher threshold.
Keywords: Torts, Sexual battery, Consent, Scalera
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