Toward a New Law on Rape

Martin D. Schwartz, Todd R. Clear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Forcible rape has become a major issue in the past decade, not only for political reasons but also because of the unique practical roadblocks placed in the path of prosecution by criminal law. A number of approaches to removing these obstacles are discussed here, based largely on the idea, acceptable from both a feminist and a practical standpoint, that rape law be “normalized” as part of a general assault code, rather than remaining a separate sex crime statute. Such a change would not only be an important political statement by the criminal law, but would also automatically remove most of the problems discussed in the literature. A suggested basic statute takes into account problems ranging from psychological harm to rape shield laws to statutory rape, in addition to the usual complaints about rape law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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