Paper Title

[2.1] From the Legalisation of Birth Control to Sexual Assault Law Reform in Canada

Location

AE 263

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

Canadian History | Cultural History | History | Philosophy | Political History | Political Science | Women's History | Women's Studies

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This essay examines link between the legalization of oral contraceptives in Canada in 1969 and the subsequent changes in sexual assault law reform in Canada in 1983. It argues that the legalisation of birth control in Canada had an explosive effect on gender roles within society, gave fuel to women’s liberation and laid the groundwork for far-reaching legal changes. Birth control affected women’s sexual revolution because, once the Pill was acquired, women retained some level of bodily autonomy; a new privilege not previously granted to them. Women’s newfound ability to control their body increased their confidence and independence. This confidence led many to the challenge of gender roles within society, specifically, gender roles within the institution of marriage. The challenge of ingrained gender roles within marriage was a significant contributor to the women’s liberation movement. The sexual assault law reform was a result of women’s growing voices against gendered and patriarchal legal systems. One of the various ways that the women’s liberation movement changed the sexual assault law reform, specifically, married women, was the discontinuance of spousal immunity from sexual assault and the inclusion of spouses as possible victims of sexual assaults. I will examine gender roles and expectations within marriage before the legalisation of the oral contraceptive and compare them to gender roles and expectations after the legalisation of oral contraceptives. I will do this through an analysis of “handbooks” and legal documents explaining indecent assault, rape, and sexual assault, books on marriage counselling and family planning handbooks.

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Jan 17th, 4:00 PM Jan 17th, 5:15 PM

[2.1] From the Legalisation of Birth Control to Sexual Assault Law Reform in Canada

AE 263

This essay examines link between the legalization of oral contraceptives in Canada in 1969 and the subsequent changes in sexual assault law reform in Canada in 1983. It argues that the legalisation of birth control in Canada had an explosive effect on gender roles within society, gave fuel to women’s liberation and laid the groundwork for far-reaching legal changes. Birth control affected women’s sexual revolution because, once the Pill was acquired, women retained some level of bodily autonomy; a new privilege not previously granted to them. Women’s newfound ability to control their body increased their confidence and independence. This confidence led many to the challenge of gender roles within society, specifically, gender roles within the institution of marriage. The challenge of ingrained gender roles within marriage was a significant contributor to the women’s liberation movement. The sexual assault law reform was a result of women’s growing voices against gendered and patriarchal legal systems. One of the various ways that the women’s liberation movement changed the sexual assault law reform, specifically, married women, was the discontinuance of spousal immunity from sexual assault and the inclusion of spouses as possible victims of sexual assaults. I will examine gender roles and expectations within marriage before the legalisation of the oral contraceptive and compare them to gender roles and expectations after the legalisation of oral contraceptives. I will do this through an analysis of “handbooks” and legal documents explaining indecent assault, rape, and sexual assault, books on marriage counselling and family planning handbooks.