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Gendered Injustice: Legal Responses to Female Sexual Assault Victims (From Women, Crime and Culture: Whores and Heroes, P 61-83, 1998, Stephanie McMahon, ed. -- See NCJ-182071)

NCJ Number
Jessica L. Weiser
Date Published
23 pages
This analysis of Canada’s laws on sexual assault argues for a newly constructed relationship between women and law and recommends that this relationship begin with women’s experiences of oppression and aims to dismantle the systems that construct and make this oppression legitimate.
Canada’s laws have historically rested on four central myths and assumptions. These overlapping and mutually reinforcing assumptions are that women lack the moral reason or capabilities of their male counterparts, women are the property of men, only good women deserve legal protection, and women’s sexuality is considered only in relation to men’s sexuality. The law amendments of 1983 replaced sections on rape and indecent assault with sections on sexual assault. However, legislation in 1997 repealed the rape shield law and allowed the defense to expose the victim’s personal, medical, counseling, and other records. This repeal rests in many ways on the oppressive myths and ideas about women that formed the basis of rape and indecent assault laws prior to the 1983 amendments. This change points to the need for a transformative feminist politic that aims to transform the relationship between women and the legal order and that reforms the systems that construct and reproduce women’s realities of oppression. 34 references


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