Gender Issues in the Criminal Law

Marcia W. Baron

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Criminal Law

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195314854
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Gender Issues in the Criminal Law


This chapter focuses on philosophical questions in criminal law that have a significant gender component rather than on gender issues more generally, looking at three areas: self-defense, provocation defense, and rape. The second section notes that one who commits what would otherwise be a murder is guilty only of manslaughter if he or she kills in a “sudden heat of passion” as the result of adequate provocation. The third section argues that the law of self-defense is flawed if it cannot treat cases such as Judith Norman's as self-defensive killings. The fourth section suggests that the law of rape and sexual assault more generally would do well to eliminate the force requirement altogether and to take nonconsent, rather than consent, to be the presumption, except in ongoing relationships involving sex and not marred by the use of force to secure sexual compliance.

Keywords: criminal law; self-defense; provocation defense; rape; passion crime; Judith Norman; sexual assault

Article.  39373 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Law

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