The body and the deed. Places of rape in Swedish court narratives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A fundamental starting point for this article is that place in a broad sense is a crucial, yet forgotten, dimension in the legal analysis of rape. Therefore, in this study I ask what role place has in the adjudication of rape; in the interpretation of rape law as well as in the evaluation of evidence. I analyze three Swedish rape cases, two from the Supreme Court, marking out the sexual act of rape, and one case from an appellate court, applying this rule. The latter is closely related to the Swedish #metoo movement and extremely high-profiled. I take a closer look at how the act of rape is linked to place in these judgements. Concretely, I study the narration and classification of the crimes, including the legal labelling and the positioning and portrayal of the complainant and the defendant. My main conclusion is that the place of the deed in combination with the place of the body are crucial in the courts’ narration and ought to be part of the legal analysis of rape as well, to promote just outcomes in terms of the evaluation of the evidence, the interpretation of rape law and the assessment of the penalty.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • Procedural law, Place and space, Gender, Sexuality, #MeToo, Rape
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender and Women’s Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020 Dec 5
Publication categoryResearch