Essays on Rape

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Essays on Rape Only Words, by Catharine MacKinnon is a collection of three essays; each essay argues her claim that sexual words and pictures should be banned instead of Constitutionally protected under the First Amendment as free speech. In her first essay, “Defamation and Discrimination,” MacKinnon takes the stance that pornography is sex, and should not be treated as speech, but as a sexist act. She claims that pornography is an action, just as, “a sign saying ‘White Only’ is only words, but … it is seen as the act of segregation that it is.”(MacKinnon 13) MacKinnon claims that other action words, such as death threats, are banned, pornography should be banned as well. According to her essay, pornography rapes women. First, the…show more content…
Throughout the years, the legal definition of “rape” has been reworded, revised, and reworked. Even so, the definition current to Real Rape is lacking in many aspects. To understand the progression of the law, it is important to understand its foundation. Modern rape legislation is still based upon the outdated opinions of Chief Justice Matthew Hale of England, who lived over three hundred years ago. His opinion is that rape is a charge “easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho’ never so innocent.”(Estrich 5) This principle requires the victim of the rape to prove that she free of guilt in order to attain a conviction for her attacker. Based upon Hale’s position, rape has come to require proof of physical resistance on the part of the victim. The man must have used ample force, as well. The law required corroboration on the victim’s testimony. A time limit was imposed on how long after the event a woman could report it. In addition, the victim’s sexual history could be submitted as evidence in order to discredit her, but the exposure of a man’s past was rarely allowed. Most states also included a provision that protected a man from rape charges against his wife. In practice, these limits and restraints did not affect the conviction rates of stranger rape. Simple rape, however, has been extremely hard to prove. In cases of simple

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