Using court transcripts from New South Wales and court depositions from Queensland, as well as media reports on sexual assaults, this thesis offers an original and nuanced exploration of the lingering problem of intoxication as justification for sexual violence. By examining the social, cultural, and legal attitudes expressed in these sources towards the consumption of alcohol in relation to sexual violence—and how these attitudes shaped the course of those cases that made it to the courtroom—this thesis will challenge the gender bias inherently invoked by posing the effects of alcohol as an effective excuse for sexual crimes. As well as identifying how biased gender ideals allowed for the mitigation of sentencing for sexual offenders, this thesis explores the continuing place of alcohol within a culture of permissiveness around sexual violence. By exploring contemporary media reports addressing similar cases, as well as subsequent social and legal responses, this thesis provides a temporal comparison in order to assess how much—or as the case may be, how little—has changed over decades of feminist protest, legislative adjustments, and victim advocacy.


09-210 (Michie Building, St Lucia Campus)