Alberta Law Review
"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.
Elizabeth Sheehy, Isabel Grant & Lise Gotell, "Resurrecting 'She Asked for It': The Rough Sex Defence in Canadian Courts" Alta L Rev [forthcoming in 2023].