Date of Award

8-13-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Andrew Atlman

Third Advisor

S.M. Love

Abstract

Those who commit sexual assault are rarely brought to justice: for every 1000 rapes, only seven will result in a felony conviction. There are numerous factors that contribute to the fact that sexual assault goes largely unpunished, and legal reform alone is not a sufficient solution—but it is an important part of the solution. In this paper, I develop an account of the epistemic injustice that rape victims face in criminal trials, and I argue that this, at least in part, helps to explain not only why conviction rates are so low, but why previous feminist legal reform has not helped to improve conviction rates. I then argue that more radical legal reform is necessary, and that we ought to consider lowering the standard of evidence in sexual assault cases.

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