Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Isabel Grant]

Published In

Alberta Law Review

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



"rough sex defence", sexual assault, consent to bodily harm, BDSM, strangulation


According to rape crisis centres and women’s shelters in Canada, the US and the UK, women are reporting extreme levels of violence by men who rape them, including strangulation—a particularly dangerous form of violence that is highly predictive of femicide. At the same time, accused men are deploying the “rough sex” defence when the victim—nearly always a woman—has suffered bodily harm or even death as a result of the accused’s actions. This defence is used to suggest that the woman enjoyed strangulation, bondage or other violence as part of “sex play”, inviting judges and jurors to find that she either consented to the acts causing bodily harm or that the man honestly believed she consented.

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Included in

Criminal Law Commons



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