‘She stings while she delights’: Rape Definitions and Representations

  • Jan Jordan


To understand current manifestations of the credibility conundrum necessitates awareness of the broader social and historical context surrounding women’s experiences of rape. The material presented in this chapter derives from an examination of both historical and contemporary literature on rape, as well as providing a brief review of changing representations of the nature of women. Issues pertinent to definitions of rape are presented first, in order to provide an overview of the principal subject matter at the heart of this book. However, the ways in which rape has been defined in law have reflected dominant ideological discourses, a key strand of which involves underlying assumptions and beliefs concerning the nature of women. Accordingly, the second section of this chapter explores these representations of women, with particular emphasis on perceptions of women’s veracity, since this impacts significantly on responses to women as rape complainants.


Sexual Assault Criminal Justice System Sexual Violence Rape Victim Legal Definition 
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Copyright information

© Jan Jordan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Jordan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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