This essay will examine Susan Estrich’s and Lois Pineau’s discussion on rape. Both contribute insights on our society’s negligence when it comes to the protection and justice for women. Estrich provides a peak into the legal system on how it determines rape. We will see that the law is shaped in a way that continues to oppress women and leave them unprotected. Pineau furthers the conversation on placing responsibility on the victim to prove the crime. She narrows her focus on date rape and raises an objection to the model of consent that shapes our culture’s attitude and our country’s law. Pineau proposes a communicative model of sex. From this proposal, I will conclude my essay with an objection of her model and will ultimately defend her model against such an objection.
As Estrich demonstrates, the law on rape has major flaws. The law exposes traditions and attitudes that surround women and sex. It condones the idea that sex contains male aggression and female passivity. The law uses three different criteria to label an act of sex as rape: mens rea, force, and consent. Estrich feels that these features demonstrate sexist attitudes within the law. Our legal system abandon’s mens rea which is Latin for “guilty state of the mind.” It is the perpetrator’s ability to understand force and non-consent. A woman must demonstrate resistance. The man can escape by stating he did not realize the woman was not consenting. So, the court turns to the woman to see if she provided proper evidence that she did not consent to the sex.
Turning away from the defendant and looking at the victim’s actions makes the legal system seem rather sexist. Other than the obvious that it makes the woman rehash the terrible details of the...
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...leground that protects men and expects too much from women. It is the only type of case where the victim must show they did enough. When a person comes through the window and steals your TV, the victim does not have to prove meticulously that they did in fact lock and close all windows and doors. The justice system assumes that they are honest citizens and that the evidence of their testimony, lack of TV, and fingerprints is enough evidence. Our attitudes towards women suggests more than just lack of reform in our legal system, but also our overall problem with how we see women and their bodies. Our society just does not see a woman’s body as private property. Women have lost bodily autonomy, if they ever had it in the first place. It is a sad, sad world when people can sue companies for a hair in their food, but a woman cannot see justice when she is raped.
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