Gender Neutrality, Rape and Trial Talk



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.


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Table of Cases

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    Beedall (2007) EWCA Crim 23.Google Scholar
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    Brookes v States 24 Md. App. 334, 330 A 2d 670, 672 (Med. App. 1975).Google Scholar
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    R v Ram and Ram (1893) Cox CC 609.Google Scholar

Table of Legislation

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    Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s. 142.Google Scholar
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    Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 s. 4 (Republic of Ireland).Google Scholar
  3.  .
    Criminal Sexual Conduct Act 1974 § 750.520a (Michigan).Google Scholar
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    New South Wales Crime Act 1900 s. 61H.Google Scholar
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    Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW)) § 9A.44.010 (definitions) and § 040 (rape in the first degree) (Washington).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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

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