The Word of a Woman?

Police, Rape and Belief

by Jordan, Jan, Dr

What value is placed upon the word of a woman? This question lies at the heart of this book. The notion that women lie about rape is a prevalent belief with pervasive influence. This book is unique in combining police file data with interviews obtained from both rape survivors and detectives in order to critically explore how this belief affects police officers' responses to women who report rape. Fascinating case studies are presented to highlight the ways in which women's credibility, when they are victims of sexual violence, is questioned and undermined.
Examination of this original material is located within a broader analysis of the historical and socio-cultural environment, showing how from antiquity women have been depicted as liars and deceivers. This view has devastating consequences in situations of rape, where typically it is one person's word against another's. In such contexts, whose word prevails?
Overall the book illustrates how, despite recent attempts to improve police rape investigation procedures, these continue to be dominated by pervasive beliefs and stereotypes regarding both the nature of rape and the nature of women.

  • Palgrave Macmillan; August 2004
  • ISBN: 9780230511057
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Word of a Woman?
  • Author: Jordan, Jan, Dr
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

About The Author

JAN JORDAN is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology in Wellington, New Zealand. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate courses addressing gender and crime issues, and is a regular contributor to police training courses. Her research on rape has been published in international academic journals, and her first book, Working Girls: Women in the New Zealand Sex Industry, won national recognition and awards.