Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1995


Published in Great Plains Research 5:1 (February 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


In Confronting Sexual Assault Julian V Roberts and Renate M. Mohr have edited a collection of chapters written by various scholars and professionals on issues central to Canadian social change concerning legal conceptions of rape, as well as the legal ramifications of such change for Canada. The book also contains a reprint of 1992 legislation, Bill C-49, that provides tests for when judges may allow a complainant's sexual history to be admitted as evidence and provides a definition of "consent" for determining sexual assault. Moreover, the bill "... restricted the defense of mistaken belief in consent ... " (p. 11).

Although not the purpose of nor highlighted in the book, there are differences between the United States and Canada on issues involving rape. The United States has the highest rate of forcible rape of any industrialized country, but Canada has a significant rape rate as well-about half that of the United States. Moreover, changes in legal reform were initiated earlier in the United States than in Canada, with Michigan adopting statute reform in 1974 and most of the other states soon following the example. United States' federal rules of evidence were amended in 1978 to restrict the use of a rape victim's sexual history. Soon after, in 1983 Canada reformed its legislation to include such a provision, but a final bill to more firmly entrench the provision was not passed until 1992.