Australian journalist Paul Sheehan's representation of the alleged and convicted immigrant Muslim/Arab rapists he demonises in 'Girls Like You', like his representation of the rape survivors in that text, has much to tell us about the law's production of rape law's speaking and signifying subjects, “real rape” victims and survivors, false accusers and perpetrators. This article uses a variety of texts, including 'Girls Like You', recent Australian rape law jurisprudence and legislative reform, texts involving two controversial recent US rape cases — one from Maryland and one from Nebraska — and a recent UK study on attrition in rape prosecutions, to explore some persistent legal problems in responding to the social harm of rape. It concludes that recent work on biopolitical models of rape law, applied to the New South Wales rape reform prompted in significant part by the Skaf and K rape cases, suggests that there is little hope of this law reform initiative reducing rape attrition. More disturbingly, via a somatechnological critique of the reform's production of “infralegal”, it also proposes that its ends can be differently understood.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | International Law | Jurisprudence | Law and Gender | Sexuality and the Law

Date of this Version

April 2010