International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique

, 21:139

Gender Neutrality, Rape and Trial Talk


DOI: 10.1007/s11196-008-9071-7

Cite this article as:
Rumney, P.N.S. Int J Semiot Law (2008) 21: 139. doi:10.1007/s11196-008-9071-7


This article examines the notion of gender neutrality in rape, its meaning and why rape definitions that include females and males as potential victims of rape have become influential in those jurisdictions that have engaged in significant levels of rape law reform over the last four decades. In so doing, several of Annabelle Mooney’s criticisms of gender neutral rape laws, published in an earlier article, will be critically examined. The second part of this article draws on themes that have been identified in the linguistic analysis of rape trials involving female complainants and applies those themes to two cases of rape and sexual assault involving male complainants. Finally, this article examines whether the tactics used by defence lawyers during cross-examination can be said to be uniquely ‘gendered’ or whether similar tactics exist in cases of male rape and sexual assault. Explanations for possible similarities in treatment are also examined.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK