Never mind the law: Legal discourse and rape reform in Israel

Mimi Ajzenstadt, Odeda Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1988, Israel changed its rape laws, inflicting harsher penalties on convicted rapists. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, this study compared punishment meted out before and after the reform and content analyzed the judicial discourse created in the courts in both periods. The findings revealed little change in the severity of sentencing and in judges' attitudes toward rapists, victims, and the crime. The mechanism of normalization allowed judicial authorities to make concessions to rapists, reducing the severity of the offense, while continuing to ignore the plight of the victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-359
Number of pages23
JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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