Sexual Violence and Justice: How and why context matters
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Sexual violence is ubiquitous. It occurs everywhere: in all the places we live, work, sleep, travel, play and pray. Victims range from infants to the elderly.1 Victim-offender relations are highly varied: among and by family members, peers and associates, and those unknown to each other; by those in positions of occupational and organisational authority; and by war combatants against civilians and each other. Sexual violence is committed by those in professional and working capacities as doctors, dentists, nurses, priests, nuns, teachers, government officials, managers, counsellors, lawyers, police officers, prison guards, soldiers, bus drivers, agricultural workers — indeed, no occupation is likely to be exempt. It can be ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’, referring respectively to everyday forms of sexual violence, and genocidal and mass atrocity violence. Sexual violence occurs everywhere imaginable, but depending on context and interpretation, it may not be considered a ‘crime’. Sexual activity can be transactional: an exchange for money, protection, affection and gratification, although the parties may have unequal status and their circumstances range along a continuum from consenting to coercive. Thus, it may not be clear when sexual activity as transaction shades into sexual violence, or when ‘agency’ or ‘choice’ stops and coercion begins.
Rape Justice: Beyond the Criminal Law
© 2015 Palgrave Macmillan. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. It is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher’s website for further information.
Criminology not elsewhere classified