Victoria Nourse


Feminist reforms have brought both success and failure to the criminal law in the past several decades. Nourse examines this simultaneous success and failure in three different areas: rape reform, marital rape immunities, and self-defense law. Her analysis urges that the criminal law has not been able to shake itself free of social norms governing intimate relationships-social norms that tend to perpetuate the very sexism feminists aimed to extinguish. Relational norms are upwardly mobile and easily nurtured by the "deliberate ambiguities" necessary to forge legislative and judicial change. Nourse argues that, in this sense, the failures of feminist reform should not be cause for dismay, but are a "normal" incident of a process that demands continued effort and attention.

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