The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance? Another look at how young people in England understand sexual consent

Victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance? Another look at how young people in England understand sexual consent
Victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance? Another look at how young people in England understand sexual consent
There is no doubt that being ‘critical’ about victim-blame requires ensuring first that it is the perpetrator and not the victim that is held responsible for sexual offending. At the same time, engagement with this topic requires critical acuity as to how victim-blame is identified, and to the boundary between raising legitimate questions about the presence or absence of consent in less than ideal circumstances, and a falling back onto myths and stereotypes that are unfair to complainants and damaging to victims. This paper identifies and critiques three purported intersections of rape myths and victim-blame that have gained widespread acknowledgement within feminist legal studies. Firstly, that a woman is blamed for voluntarily putting herself into circumstances in which ‘rape happens’; secondly, that a woman is blamed for ‘miscommunicating’ her refusal; thirdly, that consent is wrongly understood to have been given in circumstances where a woman in fact lacked the freedom to do so. This critique of methodological and analytical approaches to identifying victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance focuses on research published recently by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, ‘Sex without consent, I suppose that is rape’: how young people in England understand sexual consent.
0261-3875
258-278
Gurnham, David
f63e1a54-5924-4fd0-a3f5-521311cee101
Gurnham, David
f63e1a54-5924-4fd0-a3f5-521311cee101

Gurnham, David (2016) Victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance? Another look at how young people in England understand sexual consent. Legal Studies, 36 (2), 258-278. (doi:10.1111/lest.12107).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is no doubt that being ‘critical’ about victim-blame requires ensuring first that it is the perpetrator and not the victim that is held responsible for sexual offending. At the same time, engagement with this topic requires critical acuity as to how victim-blame is identified, and to the boundary between raising legitimate questions about the presence or absence of consent in less than ideal circumstances, and a falling back onto myths and stereotypes that are unfair to complainants and damaging to victims. This paper identifies and critiques three purported intersections of rape myths and victim-blame that have gained widespread acknowledgement within feminist legal studies. Firstly, that a woman is blamed for voluntarily putting herself into circumstances in which ‘rape happens’; secondly, that a woman is blamed for ‘miscommunicating’ her refusal; thirdly, that consent is wrongly understood to have been given in circumstances where a woman in fact lacked the freedom to do so. This critique of methodological and analytical approaches to identifying victim-blame as a symptom of rape myth acceptance focuses on research published recently by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, ‘Sex without consent, I suppose that is rape’: how young people in England understand sexual consent.

Text
Legal Studies published version (Early View).pdf - Other
Restricted to Repository staff only
Request a copy

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 August 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 January 2016
Published date: June 2016
Organisations: Faculty of Business, Law and Art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 381033
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/381033
ISSN: 0261-3875
PURE UUID: 1a7997fa-d180-4ff4-9ba7-bc135236f57d
ORCID for David Gurnham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6807-7587

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Sep 2015 15:50
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:19

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×