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Publication - Dr Yvette Russell

    Thinking sexual difference through the law of rape


    Russell, Y, 2013, ‘Thinking sexual difference through the law of rape’. Law and Critique, vol 24., pp. 255-275


    2013 marks 10 years since the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was passed.
    That Act made significant changes to the law of rape which appear now to have
    made very little difference to reporting, prosecution or conviction rates. This article
    argues that the Act has failed against its own measures because it remains enmeshed
    within a conceptual framework of sexual indifference in which woman continues to
    be constructed as man’s (defective) other. This construction both constricts the
    frame in which women’s sexuality can be thought and distorts the harm of rape for
    women. It also continues woman’s historic alienation from her own nature and
    denies her entitlement to a becoming in line with her own sexuate identity. Using
    Luce Irigaray’s critical and constructive frameworks, the article seeks to imagine
    how law might ‘cognise’ sexual difference and thus take the preliminary steps to a
    juridical environment in which women can more adequately understand and articulate
    the harm of rape.

    Full details in the University publications repository