Chiara Federica Pedace

Women, Sex Violence and the Courts

  • Abstract

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Keywords:

The discursive construction of male violence against women is nowadays centred on a lecture based on single cases or to problems regarding single relations between a victim and a perpetrator. The contributing factor is the actual trend of neoliberal criminal policies built on prevention and control strategies aimed to exhort individuals to adopt self-control mechanisms. In this frame male violence tends to be considered as a risk that women should primarily manage. At the same time, on public level, violence against women it is treated like an emergency governed by the adoption of criminal law measures instead of being solved by long-term social policy. This article aims to value how the Courts, through legal categories like the legal notion of victim's consent or like the criminal legal culpability, contribute to convey the cultural imperative of prevention underlying the actual strategies of social control. The results of the analysis concerning sentences and court documents reveal how the discourse based on prevention is also gendered. In particular, it tends to exhort women to model their conduct in accordance with the fear related to the risk of suffering sexual assault, thus contributing to construct the experience of female sexuality on the presumption of male violence, as it was inevitable.

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