Assessing The Feminist Views Of Rape Law Essay

Feminists have argued that condemnable jurisprudence has proven unequal in its application of equality in relation to force within the place and outside of it. Their unfavorable judgment stems from the private and public differentiation of force within jurisprudence as Barnett highlights the broad attack to force is traditionally viewed as a domestic, private household affair that is “ non the concern of the jurisprudence ”[ 1 ]; Wacks illustrates in his Short Introduction to doctrine of Law ( 2006 ) that “ offenses of domestic force usually occur within the place into which the jurisprudence is frequently loath to irrupt ”[ 2 ]therefore claiming that married womans and spouses of violent males have really small protection from condemnable jurisprudence.

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The chief unfavorable judgment of the jurisprudence for women’s rightists prevarications in the disparity between low degrees of prosecution of male culprits of force and the intervention of adult females who are victims. As the findings of the Fawcett Society Commission[ 3 ], concluded that even where a victim of domestic force is prepared to take action and co-operate in a prosecution, frequently the victim subsequently refuses to supply grounds against the violent spouse[ 4 ]. Barnett remarks “ to prosecute condemnable proceedings is uneffective as the bulk of suspects in domestic force instances are given non-custodial sentances or really short sentances[ 5 ], merely to return to and bring down more force as a signifier of retaliation ”[ 6 ].

For women’s rightists the chief unfavorable judgments sing condemnable jurisprudence are those in relation to ravish and domestic force as they inter link with one another. Celia Wells in her article Impact of Feminist Thinking on Criminal Law remarks that “ a sketch of current concerns suggests that much has changed in the last few decennaries in relation to domestic force and colza ”[ 7 ]. The Home Office have set up a ministerial group on domestic force[ 8 ]. Harriet Harman[ 9 ]emphasises the importance the authorities attaches to efficaciously undertaking the offense of colza[ 10 ].

Feminist Views of colza

The jurisprudence on colza is one of the most combative issues, since women’s rightists argue that gender-bias is both unfastened and concealed, within this country of condemnable jurisprudence. Much of the unfavorable judgment made by women’s rightists focal points around the troubles in turn outing the non-consent component of colza, cross scrutiny, colza myths, the usage of sexual history grounds in tribunal and the opinion of DPP v Morgan[ 11 ].

One of the most influential thoughts in the feminist treatment of colza is that sex and colza are more similar than different. MacKinnon remarks that “ the line between colza and intercourse normally centres on some step of the adult female ‘s willaˆ¦ ”[ 12 ].

Sara Hinchliffe[ 13 ]besides confirmed the extremist statement that colza and sex are similar ; in her article published in the independent she remarks that “ this impression has become progressively popular among women’s rightists and besides appears to be progressively in favor with official political and legal circles ”[ 14 ].

Lorraine Kelly and Jill Radford, both extremist women’s rightists, claim that the jurisprudence ‘s differentiation between colza and sex is debatable since it “ suggests that a clear differentiation can be drawn between force and non-violence and thereby between opprobrious and ‘normal ‘ work forces ” ( Hinchliffe, 2000:61 )[ 15 ].

Feminists such as Professor Sue Lees[ 16 ]argue that “ the jurisprudence should advance ‘communicative ‘ sex – and that it should punish the non-communicative sex ” . She argues that “ naming colza force fails to turn to the coercive nature of some male sexual behavior ” ( 1997:96 )[ 17 ].

Garvey remarks that feminist legal theoreticians claim that cultural biass sing female sexual behavior and norms of muliebrity distort the sense of colza prosecutions. As Ellis in 1948 described “ work forces and adult females ‘s delectations of sex in really different manner ; whereas work forces ‘delight in domination ‘ , adult females ‘delight in raggedness, force and hurting ” ( 2005:19 )[ 18 ].

Although Berrington and Jones have commented that women’s rightists argue such impression ‘s perpetrates the civilization of force as ‘normal ‘ , which contributes to the impression of sexual assault as being normalised ” ( 2002:311 )[ 19 ]

Sue Lees remarks that the much-reported experience of colza victims is that it is they, instead than the accused, who are on test. As she states “ adult females that give grounds in tribunal describe the procedure as being ‘as traumatic as the colza itself ” ( 2002: nine )[ 20 ].

Celia Wells remarks that “ both the procedure by which R. V R came to be considered by the House of Lords ( a concerted scheme by prosecuting officers ) and the result of the instance, could be seen as grounds of the success of feminist statements ” ( 2004:93 )[ 21 ].

The actus reus of colza originally defined within the Sexual Offences Act 1956 was ‘unlawful sexual intercourse with a adult female ‘ . The 1976 amendment of the act was incorporated as an mitigation to this definition the term ‘without her consent ‘ . Therefore in R. V R[ 22 ]the hubby claimed that he was non guilty of ravishing his married woman although she did non consent to sexual intercourse the act within itself was non improper under the working definition of the SOA 1976 amendment Act.

Prior to the opinion of R v R a hubby could non be convicted of ravishing his married woman as he had matrimonial unsusceptibility in the words of Sir Matthew Hale 1736[ 23 ].

Westmarland remarks that colza within matrimony became illegal within common jurisprudence[ 24 ]and legislative act[ 25 ]; as a consequence of over 100 old ages of feminist runing on relation to the jurisprudence ‘s gender prejudice, when the word ‘unlawful ‘[ 26 ]was removed from the definition of the actus reus of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 as amended 1976[ 27 ]by virtuousness of the condemnable Justice and Public order Act ( 2004:6 )[ 28 ].

In the feminist critical Hagiographas on the jurisprudence on colza, the job of consent in relation to mens rea has been cardinal. This job has several dimensions, but there are two of import points to concentrate on here, portion of the definition of colza is sex with one of the parties keep backing consent.

It was ruled in R. V Olugboja ( 1982 ) , a instance in which two adult females were terrorised into entry, that consent was no defense mechanism to ravish. This was a elucidation of the jurisprudence that meant in consequence that it was existent consent under duress of menaces that was no defense mechanism, that entry did non connote consent and that the prosecution did non hold to turn out that the victim physically resisted.

On the inquiry of whether the suspect ‘believed ‘ that the adult female was accepting when she clearly was non, nevertheless, recent jurisprudence has been much more debatable.

As Baird states the general line of defense mechanism used in most colza instances is that the victim consented to the intercourse, or that the accused believed that the victim was accepting to the intercourse[ 29 ]. The issue of consent is so what many colza defense mechanism statements are based upon. Therefore it is apparent that elucidation of this impression is required in order to rectify the shortage. The white paper, which followed the reappraisal of sexual offenses, had a whole chapter dedicated to the elucidation of consent[ 30 ].

Westmarland claims that the root of the job in relation to accept prevarications in the load placed on the prosecution to turn out the absence of consent, instead than necessitating the suspect to turn out that they had taken the necessary stairss as to determine consent. She remarks that this is a alone construct which merely applies to ravish by exemplifying illustrations such as larceny and assault and remarks that one would non hold to turn out in the absences of consent in these instances.

Another job with consent that is highlighted by women’s rightists is that since colza is a offense which is committed against an person ; it is hard to turn out consent as it is merely the victim ‘s word against the accused or frailty versa[ 31 ]hence doing it hard to formalize either individual ‘s statement[ 32 ].

The issue of consent in relation to colza was established for the first clip within legislative act in 1976 by virtuousness of the sexual offenses amendment act 1976, although its presence within common jurisprudence can be dated back to 1845. The authorization of Camplin[ 33 ]established that although no force was used it was clear that the act of intercourse was against the victim ‘s will and that she could non hold consented to it.

As Jennifer Tempkin describes since Camplin there have been many other instances where consent is automatically deemed to be absent. In brief she provides the undermentioned illustration referred to as the ‘category attack ‘ ; where there is force, or where force is apparent, where the victim is asleep or intoxicated, where fraud is involved, including the feeling of the victims ‘ hubby ( Temkin, 2000 )[ 34 ].

The opinion in Olugboja[ 35 ]stated that consent was a province of head, and that it is for the jury to do up their ain head as to whether consent was present based on the victim ‘s province of head at the clip of the alleged colza. Westmarland remarks that this opinion appears to turn over the legal criterions that had been developed utilizing the ‘category attack ‘ ( 2004:8 )[ 36 ].

However, Temkin has stated that “ the attack of Olugboja is ill-defined ” and she describes the state of affairs “ as holding a ‘threefold uncertainness ‘ . The first component of uncertainness was because there was no statutory definition of consent. Second, the Olugboja determination individualised instances sing consent and therefore traveling off from the thought of a non-consent legal criterion ” . Finally she remarks that “ there was uncertainness sing whether or non Olugboja had replaced the previos common jurisprudence class attack ” ( 2004:9 )[ 37 ].

It is apparent that the SOA 2003 has attempted to turn to the uncertainnesss sing consent by virtuousness of subdivision 74 by specifying consent[ 38 ]and besides by returning to the class attack and naming them within subdivision 75 ( 2 ) of the offense.

However the 2003 Act differentiates between the six classs where consent is presumed to be absent. Unless there is sufficient grounds to the contrary to give rise to an issue the suspect moderately believed that the victim consented, an two classs where consent is once and for all presumed to be absent.

This means that the issue of consent still, to some extent, relies upon the mental province of the suspect, even in instances such as where the victim was asleep, sing force from the suspect, or unlawfully detained[ 39 ], although the load of cogent evidence is reversed in these state of affairss with the suspect required to show the stairss he took to determine consent.

In R v Dougal[ 40 ], Jennifer Temkin stated “ under common jurisprudence, a adult female is non considered to hold the ability to give consent to sex when incapacitated through intoxicant ” . She besides stated that the Sexual Offences Act 2003, a adult female can merely accept to sex when she has the freedom and capacity to make so. However, holding sex with person while under the influence of intoxicant that one would usually non hold sex with is still considered consentual.

Hinchliffe in her article, rubrics Rape and the shadow of a uncertainty published in The Independent commented that ” one illustration of the type of reform likely to emerge from the on-going Home Office reappraisal is that the Morgan principle-the defense mechanism to colza of an “ honest though mistaken ” belief in consent-ought to travel ” ( The Independent:2000 )[ 41 ].

Hinchliffe states “ that women’s rightists and critical attorneies have argues that Margan makes it easy for work forces to be acquitted when accused of colza ” .

Based on DPP V Morgan 1976[ 42 ], if a adult male commited the actus reus of colza, but candidly believed that the adult female was accepting irrespective of how unreasonable this belief is he could non be convicted of colza because of the deficiency of work forces rea ( Barnett, 1998 )[ 43 ]. As Hinchliffe remarks that “ harmonizing to one critic, ‘all the adult male has to state is ‘I thought she wanted it ‘ and the jurisprudence may be indulgent ” ( Hinchliffe, 2000 )[ 44 ]. Temkin states that many women’s rightists have referred to this as the ‘mistaken belief ‘ clause of informally as the ‘rapists charter ‘[ 45 ].

Sheila Duncan remarks that for many the Morgan rule priveledges work forces over adult females. “ Concern has been expressed that what happens in the adult female ‘s head[ 46 ]is disregarded by the Morgan mens rea demand. Even if the jury believes that a adult female did non consent to sex, if it besides believes that the adult male did non mean to ravish her, it must assoil him ” ( 1996:183 )[ 47 ].

Westmarland high spots that “ feminist militant groups have campaigned for many old ages for the reform of the ‘mistaken belief ‘ rule alternatively of being based on an honorable belief they suggest that it should be based on some trial of rationality or that the misguided belief clause itself should be abolished wholly ” ( 2004:11 )[ 48 ].

As predicted by Sara Hinchliffe there were many arguments in relation to the Morgan rule of ‘mistaken honest belief ‘ during the Home Office reappraisal of Sexual Offenses in 1999.

Although Westmoreland commented that the respondents to the colza and sexual assault subdivision at the clip could non make a clear understanding in relation to recommendation since a 3rd of them argued that Morgan rule should alter so that the belief must be both honest and sensible ( Home Office, 2000: Six )[ 49 ].

A post card run to Jack Straw[ 50 ]was organised by the feminist militant group Campaign to End Rape, which called for a entire dismissal of the Morgan opinion[ 51 ]. Westmarland distinguished that argument within the reappraisal was non whether Morgan should be changed per Se but how it should be changed or replaced.

As a consequence of the incorporation of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is apparent that The Home Office colza seminar and the Review ‘s External mention group agreed that the Morgan rule should alter the work forces rea component of colza has now been replaced with ‘reasonable ‘ belief alternatively or ‘honest misguided belief ‘[ 52 ]. The White Paper[ 53 ]which proceeded the act stated that sensible belief will be judged against the criterion of an nonsubjective 3rd party and in conformity to subdivision 2 of the act.


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