What constitutes a "reasonable belief" in consent to sex? A thematic analysis

Gray, Jacqueline M. (2015) What constitutes a "reasonable belief" in consent to sex? A thematic analysis. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 21 (3) . pp. 357-353. ISSN 1355-2600 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13552600.2014.900122)

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (399kB) | Preview


The prosecution of rape frequently requires a jury to decide whether the defendant reasonably believed that the complainant consented to sexual intercourse, thereby assuming a shared understanding of what constitutes a “reasonable belief in consent”. This study provides a thematic analysis of interviews with 18 university students, studying in London, UK, to explore their perceptions of “a reasonable belief in consent” when considering other people’s behaviour. The findings suggest that whilst these participants rejected many stereotypical ideas in judging reasonable belief in consent, the discussion regarding vulnerability, responsibility and the consumption of alcohol was less clear-cut. Discussions frequently sought to avoid directly blaming the victim for being raped, but would instead blame her for getting drunk or otherwise “allowing” herself to become vulnerable. The implications of these findings for the prosecution of rape and wider public education are considered

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 18885
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Sexual Aggression on 01/04/2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13552600.2014.900122.
Depositing User: Jackie Gray
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 12:11
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 22:24
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/18885

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.