Bond University


Much of the academic literature on how to talk about sexual assault in law classrooms is written by lecturers, however it is often in reaction to student viewpoints. This paper responds to lecturer approaches by representing student perspectives on talking about sexual assault in Australian law classes, and how student experiences might inform teaching methods. I suggest that the student anecdotes that are recounted in the paper highlight two aims in teaching sexual assault law beyond a learning outcome involving knowledge of substantive law. The first is to acknowledge the perspective of students that have experienced sexual assault, and the second is to change student perspectives that undermine sexual assault’s gravity. This paper uses a difference feminist framework to analyse how student experiences might assist in achieving these two aims. Difference feminism complements the first aim in seeking to recognise perspectives that are less heard. It complements the second aim since, often through recognising less heard perspectives, difference feminism reveals, critiques, and thus overcomes unhelpful stereotyped attitudes, such as binary opposition. Overall, this paper illustrates the importance of considering student experiences when reflecting on how to conduct a law classroom discussion on sexual assault.