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A Feminist Remedy for Sexual Assault: A Quest for Answers

Sexual Assault Law, Practice, and Activism in a Post Jane Doe Era, pp. 725-739, Elizabeth Sheehy, ed., University of Ottawa Press, 2012

18 Pages Posted: 22 May 2013  

Constance B. Backhouse

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

In this final chapter (chapter 28 of "Sexual Assault Law, Practice, and Activism in a Post Jane Doe Era"), Constance Backhouse returns to the very questions posed by Jane Doe’s activism and the Garneau Sisters who followed her: what is a feminist response to sexual assault? As a historian, Constance looks back at harsh sentencing laws for convicted rapists, revealing how embedded they were and remain in racial fear of and hatred directed at Africans and African-Canadians. She argues that feminists should not support prisons and should continue to explore restorative justice options, advocating more, not less, delegation of self-governance to offenders, in contrast, perhaps, to the directions identified by Gillian Balfour and Janice Du Mont. Constance points to a 1974 Ontario decision that awarded compensation to the complainant as a criminal remedy as an example of how to ensure restitution for women. She urges us to divest from criminal law responses and instead invest in the creative possibilities for recognizing and reimagining the harm of rape that feminist artists and authors can offer.

Keywords: Jane Doe, sexual, assault, law, practice, activism, Backhouse, feminist, feminism, criminal, restorative, justice, sentencing, racism, Canada, Canadian, Gillian, Balfour, Janice, DuMont, remedy, remedies, harm

Suggested Citation

Backhouse, Constance B., A Feminist Remedy for Sexual Assault: A Quest for Answers (2012). Sexual Assault Law, Practice, and Activism in a Post Jane Doe Era, pp. 725-739, Elizabeth Sheehy, ed., University of Ottawa Press, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268064

Constance B. Backhouse (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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