2008 Psychology of Women Section 21st Anniversary Conference 'Rights and Changes'
Conference Venue: Cumberland Lodge, The Great Park, Windsor
Psychology of Women Section
From: 16 Jul 2008
To: 18 Jul 2008
She didn’t say ‘no’: Communicating sexual consent J.M. Gray
It has been shown that women rarely say ‘no’ when refusing sexual intercourse, but instead use either non-verbal or indirect verbal refusals. Whilst it is claimed that men find this to be confusing, research indicates that they do understand these refusals, suggesting that the defence to rape that the perpetrator believed that the victim consented is spurious. Legislative changes to the English and Welsh law on rape mean that the defendant’s belief in consent to sexual intercourse must be ‘reasonable’. As the verdict is decided by a jury it is important to understand what the public considers to be reasonable, and to determine whether there is a shared understanding. This presentation reports findings from a preliminary interview-based study conducted in a UK university. Participants considered what behaviours exhibited by women in various situations would be reasonably considered to constitute consent to sex or a lack thereof. The findings are discussed in relation to policy, practice and further research.
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