Criminal Law through the Gender Lens: A Comparison of Rape Laws in England and Nigeria


  • journal manager
  • Iyabode Ogunniran


Criminal law focuses on the principle of harm to protect other members of the society. However, it is systematically
constructed often precluding the expressive nature of women. The legal process translates everyday experiences into legal
relevance basing judgment on the structured account. Gender, that is, the social construct role is visible in criminal law. This
paper analyses criminal law, typify by the offence of rape through the gender lens. Rape objectifies the body and omits
emotional complexities of women. Consequently, it leaves indelible marks on the victims. The paper considers rape laws in
England and Nigeria, both countries sharing common law similarities. In England, there have been series of laws reforms
to address the gendered effect, albeit new issues are springing up. The Nigerian criminal laws have remained unchanged for
over 50 years, exacerbating the trauma of rape victims. This paper proposes law reforms; change of assumptions in legal
reasoning and adjustment in cultural rape myths.