Gender on Trial

Changes in Legal and Discursive Practices Concerning Sexual Violence in Poland from the 1970s to the Present

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Agnieszka Kościańska University of Warsaw akoscianska@uw.edu.pl

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5512-425X

Since 1932, Poland has had a progressive law regarding rape, according to which rape is defined regardless of the relationship between the rapist and the victim or their gender. However, this law has not been fully executed because of widespread stereotypes concerning rape. This paper draws on multiple ethnographic and archival sources and focuses on the changes in discourses on rape and court practices in rape cases that have occurred since the 1970s. It shows that feminists have been instrumental in shifting discourses of sexual violence and court practices in rape cases by bringing women’s/victims’ voices into the public sphere. This paper also unveils mechanisms of emancipation that were not possible without local developments in expert knowledge and local feminist activity.

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