Man/woman; right/wrong; reason/emotion; truth/lies. Dichotomous thinking polarises that which defies polarisation. Yet the crime of rape has been legally defined for centuries in ways which uphold a rigid rape/not rape distinction. Moreover, the societies within which such definitions have been promulgated have reflected patriarchal privileging, with the gender class ‘men’ being equated with rightness and the ‘truth’ and the gender class ‘women’ regarded as wrong, full of falsities and lies. The long history of men’s violence towards, and subjugation of, women depended in large part on a woman’s protests and accusations being silenced. Little wonder, then, that women came to doubt the worth of their words and the value of their selves. In the quest for survival, the quest for credibility assumed increasing significance.
KeywordsSexual Abuse Criminal Justice System Sexual Violence Rape Victim Gender Class
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