Date: 07 May 2008

A Response to A Response: Gender Neutrality, Rape and Trial Talk

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It was with great interest and some trepidation that I read Rumney’s response to my paper previously published in this journal (2006, pp. 39–68). In many ways it is pleasure to have the chance for a formal dialogue in what is often the all too solitary task of publishing research. Rumney’s response also leads me to think about the implications, and difficulties, of working in an interdisciplinary field; this is not something I will pursue here in the detail it deserves though I suspect many of our differences are exactly because of this. There are, in my reading of Rumney’s argument, some misrepresentations of my argument which I deal with first. I then turn to our clashing semantic systems in relation to ‘gender’, ‘law’ and ‘patriarchy’.

Rumney suggests in his opening lines that my argument was to suggest that gender neutral laws “prevent gendered analysis of rape as a social and legal problem”. In fact, my argument was that “the removal of gender specific terms would not solve the pro ...