Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent

Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent

Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent

Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent

Synopsis

Representing Rape is the first feminist analysis of the language of sexual assault trials from the perspective of linguistics. Ehrlich argues that language is central to all legal settings - specifically sexual harassment and aquaintance rape hearings where linguistic descriptions are often the only basis upon which juries and judges determine a verdict. In such contexts, language is not a neutral and transparent reflection of the world, but rather helps to construct the character of the people and events under investigation.The book is based around a case study of the trial of a male student accused of two instances of sexual assault in two different settings: a university tribunal and a criminal trial. This case is situated within international studies on rape trials and is relevant to the legal systems of the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Ehrlich shows how culturally-dominant notions about rape percolate through the talk of sexual assault cases in a variety of settings and ultimately shape their outcome. Ehrlich hopes that to understand rape trials in this way is to recognize their capacity for change. By highlighting the underlying preconceptions and prejudices in the language of courtrooms today, this important book paves the way towards a fairer judicial system for the future.
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