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Sexual Coercion and the Law

NCJ Number
Sex Offender Law Report Volume: 2 Issue: 4 Dated: June/July 2002 Pages: 49-50,61-63,64
Richard B. Felson Ph.D.
Date Published
July 2002
6 pages
Discussing the socio-legal response to sexual coercion, this article examines the feminist argument that sexual assault is tolerated by the legal system.
Investigating the use of a feminist approach to examine the socio-legal response to sexual coercion, this article examines the notion that the legal system tolerates sexual assault against women when these women deviate from traditional gender roles. After presenting feminist perspectives that sexual coercion is a means for controlling women, keeping them in their traditional roles, and that males passed laws against rape to protect their property, the author states that contrary to what is suggested by some researchers, rape is neither universal nor restricted to capitalist societies. Arguing that punishment for rape offenses is severe enough to prevent men from raping women in order to control them, the author also argues that women do not marry for protection against rape, as has been suggested by some authors. After suggesting that sexual assaults are less likely to be reported to the police than robbery or other assault, the author maintains that police are often more skeptical about charges of rape than they are of other crimes. Following a discussion of false charges of rape and the sympathy and stigma associated with rape, this article concludes that the attention of legal authorities to false rape charges reflects justice and not sexism. References


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