Added: October 25, 2008 – Last updated: October 3, 2015
Title: Is it Sex or Assault?
Subtitle: Erotic Versus Violent Language in Sexual Assault Trial Judgments
Journal: Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless
Year: January 2001
* Janet Bavelas' Website (Free Access)
* SpringerLink (Restricted Access)
Abstract: »This research examined the language used to describe sexual offenses in 75 British Columbia trial judgments. Since 1983 nonconsensual sexual contact is legally termed as "sexual assault" in Canada, so we tested whether the language in the judgments depicted sexual activity or assault. The most frequent characterization was in sexual (erotic or affectionate) language, which strongly implies mutuality and consent, whereas language depicting force, violence, or unilateral action was much less common--regardless of guilt or innocence, the nature of the charge, and the age of the complainant. We propose that sexualized descriptions minimize the inherent violence of sexual assaults and hide the survivors' experience.« (Source: Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless)