Consent in Sexual Assault: Reflections on the Role of Testimonial and Expert Evidence

This article offers a critical analysis of a very controversial concept in sexual assault trials: Consent. It discusses how difficult it is to determine the elements that help to assess the consent or refusal of the plaintiff. In the absence of evidence, the plaintiff's testimony becomes the prosecution's evidence and the role of forensic experts and psychologists is crucial. A content analysis was conducted with Atlas. Ti of one of the most mediatic sentences in Spain, Manada de San Fermines (San Fermin Wolf Pack) sentence. Results show that the legal scenario is not limited to the moment of the aggression. On the other hand, when there is no strong objective evidence, such as physical injuries due to resistance, the testimony and reports from experts become key pieces in the construction of an ideal victim. The discrepancies surrounding consent make it necessary to clarify this concept from a legal as well as from a social and cultural point of view.


Maite Aurrekoetxea-Casaus

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