Challenging rape mythology

Despite reform of law and process over many decades, adult rape complainants’ experience of the criminal justice system has not improved.

Complainants still report being re-traumatised by questioning during court trials. According to Victoria researchers Associate Professors Dr Ann Weatherall (Psychology) and Elisabeth McDonald (Law), such questioning operates to reinforce contestable views about female sexuality and intimate relationships.

With the aim of proposing new ways of testing evidence in a courtroom setting, the pair will use Marsden funding of $540,000 to document and analyse current practices using a range of innovative interdisciplinary methodologies. They say they may finally be able to recommend changes that will address long-standing concerns.