Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence
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Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence

Edited by Robin West and Cynthia G. Bowman

The Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence surveys feminist theoretical understandings of law, including liberal and radical feminism, as well as socialist, relational, intersectional, post-modern, and pro-sex and queer feminist legal theories.
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Chapter 10: Sexual violence and the law in India

Nivedita Menon


This chapter examines the changed legal landscape of sexual violence after the amendments and new laws of 2012 and 2013 in India. It critically analyzes the key political interventions that have emerged from different kinds of feminist spaces and perspectives, which are in mutual debate, although all are in contestation with patriarchal legal and social attitudes. Both feminist and patriarchal views on rape find expression in the public arena as well as in inputs into the law, and this results in legal changes that are often antithetical to feminist ethics. The chapter asks to what extent feminists can continue engaging with the law under such circumstances and offers an expanded definition of due process that acknowledges an ‘outside’ to the law, which includes feminist political mobilization of different kinds. It thus offers a broader theorization of feminist jurisprudence and the feminist politics of sexual violence drawing from the Indian experience.

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