- The Japanese Association of Sociology of Law
- 法社会学 (ISSN:04376161)
- vol.2001, no.54, pp.44-58,259, 2001-03-30 (Released:2009-01-15)
The situation regarding victims of sexual violence has dramatically changed in this decade in Japan. Mainly women activists who addressed the issue of victim's rights of sexual violence have made this change. The number of victims who seek legal remedies has increased. This movement has made it clear that our legal system has not worked well for giving them appropriate remedies.In the field of criminal law, rape is still determined under the influence of the patriarchal ideology. For example, rape is determined whether a victim made utmost resist against her offender. This way of determination can release rapists who know the victims, because in those cases it is more difficult for them to resist strongly. In addition, it is not likely for the victims of non-stranger rape to report the rape to the police. Victims still have faced the victim-blaming attitude of the society as a whole as well as a legal system itself. The above mentioned problem of the criminal law has also been seen in civil cases in which victims are demanding compensations from offenders. This happened particularly in sexual harassment lawsuits. The cases in which plaintiffs were defeated were determined by judges who relied on so called rape myth. Another problem of the civil cases is low amount of compensation, even though in some cases we can see relatively high amount of it.The root cause of the problem is that there is merely education of sexual discrimination in the legal department of universities and the Legal Research and Training Institute run by the Supreme Court. The change of the issue of women's rights, which happened internationally in this decade, has not yet reached those educational bodies for lawyers.