Take My Breath Away: Competing Contexts between Domestic Violence, Kink and the Criminal Justice System in R. v. J.A.

21 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2016

Date Written: December 28, 2016

Abstract

English Abstract: In the R. v. J.A. case, a man was criminally convicted for performing sexual activities on his partner while she was rendered unconscious through erotic asphyxiation. Evaluating the legal and ethical stakes of the case is challenging because the complainant changed her testimony from non-consent to consent at trial, and the couple’s history includes both kinky sex and domestic violence. In this paper, I problematize the legal reasoning of the trial judgment (R. v .A.(J.) 2008 ONCJ 195), the Supreme Court of Canada’s majority decision ([2011] 2 S.C.R. 440), as well as the LEAF factum, and some of the feminist commentary. I argue that both the legal and the feminist discourses privilege domestic and sexual violence as the preeminent context in this case, erase or gloss over kinky eroticism and subjectivity, and advance a carceral politics that privileges the criminal justice system as an articulator of truth, and a vehicle for gender justice.

Spanish Abstract: En el caso R. v. J.A., se condenó penalmente a un hombre por llevar a cabo actividades sexuales con su pareja, después de dejarla inconsciente mediante asfixia erótica. Evaluar las implicaciones legales y éticas del caso es un reto, porque la querellante cambió en el juicio su testimonio del no consentimiento al consentimiento, y la historia de la pareja incluye tanto el fetichismo sexual como la violencia doméstica. En este artículo se problematiza sobre el razonamiento jurídico de la sentencia (R. v. A. (J.) 2008 ONCJ 195), la decisión mayoritaria del Tribunal Supremo de Canadá ([2011] 2 RCS 440), así como el factum LEAF, y algunos de los comentarios feministas. Se sostiene que tanto los discursos jurídicos como los feministas consideran la violencia doméstica y sexual como el contexto preeminente en este caso, borran o disimulan el fetichismo erótico y la subjetividad, y promueven una política penitenciaria en la que el sistema de justicia penal es articulador de la verdad y vehículo para la justicia de género.

Keywords: Consent, kink BDSM (bondage/discipline/sadism/masochism), sexual assault, domestic violence, unconsciousness, carceral politics, feminist legal theory, Consentimiento, fetichismo sexual o bondage/disciplina/sadmismo/masoquismo, asalto sexual, violencia doméstica, inconsciencia, política penitencia

Suggested Citation

Khan, Ummni, Take My Breath Away: Competing Contexts between Domestic Violence, Kink and the Criminal Justice System in R. v. J.A. (December 28, 2016). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 6, No. 6, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2891048

Ummni Khan (Contact Author)

Carleton University ( email )

1125 colonel By Drive
Ontario K1S 5B6

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