The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality, and Law

The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality, and Law

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by Vanessa Place
     
 

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An English court in 1736 described rape as an accusation “easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, though never so innocent. ”To prove the crime, the law required a woman to physically resist, to put up a “hue and cry,” as evidence of her unwillingness. Beginning in the 1970s, however, feminist

Overview

An English court in 1736 described rape as an accusation “easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, though never so innocent. ”To prove the crime, the law required a woman to physically resist, to put up a “hue and cry,” as evidence of her unwillingness. Beginning in the 1970s, however, feminist and victim-advocacy groups began changing attitudes toward rape so the crime is now seen as violent in itself: the legal definition of rape now includes everything from the sadistic serial rapist to the eighteen-year-old who has consensual sex with a fourteen-year-old.

This inclusiveness means there are now more rapists among us. And more of rape’s camp followers: the prison-makers, the community watchdogs, law-and-order politicians, and the real-crime/real-time entertainment industry. Vanessa Place examines the ambiguity of rape law by presenting cases where guilt lies, but lies uneasily, and leads into larger ethical questions of what defines guilt, what is justice, and what is considered just punishment. Assuming a society can and must be judged by the way it treats its most despicable members, The Guilt Project looks at the way the American legal system defines, prosecutes, and punishes sex offenders, how this Dateline NBC justice has transformed our conception of who is guilty and how they ought to be treated, and how this has come to undo our deeper humanity

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590513866
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
03/23/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

I am a criminal defense appellate attorney. I represent indigent sex offenders and sexually violent predators, all on appeal from felony convictions in the State of California. I have also supervised or otherwise assisted a number of other attorneys representing indigent appellate defendants. All told, I’ve been involved in about a thousand felony cases. Most of my clients are factually guilty by virtue of their acts; all are legally guilty by virtue of their convictions. They are the very bad men, those who trigger the question, “How can you defend people like that, knowing that they’re guilty?” It’s an inevitable question, though the delay between meeting me and asking the question varies according to the questioner’s profile. The rich ask it sooner than the poor, the educated quicker than the unschooled. Other criminals usually don’t ask it at all. Fellow cons will be the first to volunteer to crack a baby-raper’s skull, but will never question the scumbag’s right to a defense.

Meet the Author

Vanessa Place is a writer and criminal appellate attorney practicing in Los Angeles. She has worked on the appeals of more than a thousand indigent felons, specializing in sex offenders and sexually violent predators. She is the author of Dies: A Sentence, a fifty-thousand-word, one-sentence prose poem; the post-conceptual novel La Medusa; and, in collaboration with appropriation poet Robert Fitterman, Notes on Conceptualisms. Place is co-founder of Les Figues Press, described by critic Terry Castle as “an elegant vessel for experimental American writing of an extraordinarily
assured and ingenious sort.”

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The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality, and Law 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At that point, I was unable to stomach any more. In that section , he made two and only two points wrth mentioning. The first was that the privatization of the prison system as we arrested people for non-violent drug users ; addiction a disease, not a crime--but companies getting rich off that addiction should be. We have a huge drug problem in MA, and one chief of police, instead of arresting zddicts, has worked to help them Guess what? More people ate seekinghelp, and drug-related crime is much lower. The second point is the way the media (and this means you, NancyGrace) sensationalizes child rape and other rapes. As one pal who is journalist says.if itbleeds, it leads. The rest of this bookis Blaming the Victim. If the law keeps child molestors inahospital for the ret of theirlives, I am fine with that. But then, I have held a twelve-year-old girl who wad raped by a neighbor( who had beencharged once before for a similar crime but never stood trial because hethreatened and harrassed the family into refusing to testify;this 30ish guy was married to a 16-year - old who he married at 15 after he I,pregnsted het). I found the author to be the legal vetsipn of J.R. Ewing,andnot a whole better than the rapists he defends. While I somewhat sgree that tiers need to be degrees of sexual assault, most states already have that. And I disagree that frat rats who think it is just fine to gang rape a girl so drunkthat she asks tem to have at it, ceserve to get off scott free--I would treat as second xegree as opposed to first degree rape. But these guys do needto learn the hard way that if she is so drunk she would gey a DUI, it isn't okay to have sex with her. And we need to make damned sure that you gmalez,the age when most rapes ate committed, that sex without actual consent is not just a crime but wrong onevery level. By the wau on most campuses, the athletes,3%of thecampus, commit 19% of the rapes, and some frats do a much beter job of teaching theirmembets that sex is criminal. This authir is a rape anablet.