Defining Rape Internationally: A Comment on Akayesu

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Each time a rape law is created or applied, or a rape case is tried, communities rethink what rape is. Buried contextual and experiential presumptions about the forms and prevalence of force in sexual interactions, and the pertinence and modes of expression of desire, shape public consciousness and judicial determinations of law and fact. The degree to which the actualities of raping and being raped are embodied in law tilt ease of proof to one side or the other and contribute to determining outcomes, which in turn affect the landscape of expectations, emotions, and rituals in sexual relations, both everyday and in situations of recognized group conflict.