The Technoscientific Witness of Rape: Contentious Histories of Law, Feminism, and Forensic Science

By Andrea Quinlan

© 2017

In 1984, the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) was dubbed "Ontario’s most successful rapist trap." Since then, the kit has become the key source of evidence in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault as well as a symbol of victims’ improved access to care and justice. Unfortunately, the SAEK has failed to live up to these promises.

The Technoscientific Witness of Rape is the first book to chart the thirty year history of the sexual assault evidence kit and its role in a criminal justice system that re-victimizes many assault victims in their quest for medical treatment and justice. Drawing on actor-network theory and feminist technology studies, Andrea Quinlan combs through sixty-two interviews with police, nurses, scientists, and lawyers, as well as archival records and legal cases to trace changes in sexual assault forensics, law, advocacy, and anti-violence activism in Ontario. Through this history Quinlan bravely and provocatively argues that the SAEK reflects and reinforces the criminal justice system’s distrust of sexual assault victims.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

The Technoscientific Witness of Rape is the first book to chart the thirty-year history of the sexual assault evidence kit and its role in a criminal justice system that re-victimizes many assault victims in their quest for medical treatment and justice.

The Technoscientific Witness of Rape: Contentious Histories of Law, Feminism, and Forensic Science

By Andrea Quinlan

© 2017

In 1984, the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) was dubbed "Ontario’s most successful rapist trap." Since then, the kit has become the key source of evidence in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault as well as a symbol of victims’ improved access to care and justice. Unfortunately, the SAEK has failed to live up to these promises.

The Technoscientific Witness of Rape is the first book to chart the thirty year history of the sexual assault evidence kit and its role in a criminal justice system that re-victimizes many assault victims in their quest for medical treatment and justice. Drawing on actor-network theory and feminist technology studies, Andrea Quinlan combs through sixty-two interviews with police, nurses, scientists, and lawyers, as well as archival records and legal cases to trace changes in sexual assault forensics, law, advocacy, and anti-violence activism in Ontario. Through this history Quinlan bravely and provocatively argues that the SAEK reflects and reinforces the criminal justice system’s distrust of sexual assault victims.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "The Technoscientific Witness of Rape tells an insightful and complex history of the sexual assault evidence kit. Andrea Quinlan has produced a well written, fascinating, and high quality work of scholarship that makes the SAEK come alive. It is the first book to thoroughly analyze the development of a rape kit as a technology that marks a significant contribution to feminist technoscience studies."


    Chikako Takeshita, Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside

    "In The Technoscientific Witness of Rape, Andrea Quinlan offers a thoroughly and smoothly contextualized interpretation of the institution and changing nature and role of the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit in Ontario. Her work is profoundly well written and finely crafted. Quinlan adeptly covers the many contradictions, complications and implications characterizing the evidence generated (or not) by forensic medical examinations. The Technoscientific Witness of Rape is a major contribution to the research on state responses to sexual violence."


    Deborah White, Department of Sociology, Trent University
  • Author Information

    Andrea Quinlan is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo.
  • Table of contents

    List of Figures

    Acknowledgements

    Epigraph

    1. Introduction: Diffracting the Technoscientific Witness
    2. Inscriptions of Doubt: Law, Anti-Rape Activism, and the Early SAEK
    3. Stabilizing the SAEK: Controversies in Practice, Advocacy, and Expertise
    4. Assembling the Genetic Technoscientific Witness: Visions of Justice, Safety, and the Stranger Rapist
    5. Instability Within: The Technoscientific Witness in Contemporary Practice
    6. Reassembling Technoscience: Troubled Pasts and Imagined Futures

    Appendix: Interview Sample

    References

    Notes