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Rule by Myth: The Social and Legal Dynamics Governing Alcohol-Related Acquaintance Rapes

Karen M. Kramer
Stanford Law Review
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Nov., 1994), pp. 115-160
Published by: Stanford Law Review
DOI: 10.2307/1229223
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229223
Page Count: 46
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Rule by Myth: The Social and Legal Dynamics Governing Alcohol-Related Acquaintance Rapes
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Abstract

Focusing on case studies of three alcohol-related campus acquaintance rapes, Karen Kramer argues that cultural myths distort the current legal doctrine of consent and deprive rape victims of adequate legal protection. In particular, Ms. Kramer argues that our culture applies a double standard regarding intoxication: If the rapist was drunk, it reduces his culpability, but if the victim was drunk, it increases her culpability. Using a 1992 amendment to the Canadian criminal code as a model, Ms. Kramer proposes a new legal standard for consent in sexual assault cases. She argues that this new standard would lessen the effects of persistent cultural myths, thereby addressing acquaintance rape in a way that adequately acknowledges the victim's injuries.

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