The Language of Consent in Rape Law

  • Peter M. Tiersma


The issue of consent is one of the most difficult problems in rape law. In the past, the identity of the perpetrator was frequently an issue. Yet recent advances in genetic testing will almost inevitably result in the question of ‘who did it’ receding into the background. As a consequence, the question of whether the woman consented is likely to receive even greater attention than it does today.


Sexual Crime Sexual Intercourse Penal Code Reasonable Doubt Defence Attorney 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1970) Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  2. Bienen, L. (1980) Rape III—National Developments in Rape Reform Legislation, Women’s Rights Law Reporter, 6(3): 170–213.Google Scholar
  3. da Luz, C. M. and Weckerly, P. C. (1993) The Texas ‘condom-rape’ case: caution construed as consent, UCLA Women’s Law Journal, 3: 95–104.Google Scholar
  4. Ehrlich, S. (2001) Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Estrich, S. (1987) Real Rape. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Francis, L. (1996) Date Rape: Feminism, Philosophy, and the Law. University Park, Pa.: Penn State University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Horowitz, I. A. and Kirkpatrick, L. C. (1996) A concept in search of a definition: The effects of reasonable doubt instructions on certainty of guilt standards and jury verdicts, Law and Human Behavior, 20 (6): 655–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kalven, H. Jr., and Zeisel, H. (1966) The American Jury. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  9. Levy, L. W. (1999) The Palladium ofJustice: Origins of Trial by Jury. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee.Google Scholar
  10. Matoesian, G. M. (1993) Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Remick, L. A. (1993) Read her lips: An argument for a verbal consent standard in rape, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 141 (3): 1103–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Smith, V. L. (1991) Prototypes in the courtroom: Lay representations of legal concepts, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61 (December): 857–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Solan, L. M. (1995) Judicial decisions and linguistic analysis: Is there a linguist in the court?, Washington University Law Quarterly, 73 (3): 1069–80.Google Scholar
  14. Solan, L. M. (1999) Refocusing the burden of proof in criminal cases: Some doubt about reasonable doubt, Texas Law Review, 78 (1): 105–48.Google Scholar
  15. Spohn, C., and Horney, J. (1992) Rape Law Reform: a Grassroots Revolution and its Impact. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Taslitz, A. (1999) Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Tiersma, P. M., and Solan, L. M. (2004) Cops and robbers: Selective literalism in American criminal law. Law and Society Review, 38: 229–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wierzbicka, A. (1987) English Speech Act Verbs. Sydney: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter M. Tiersma

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations