Should a female victim of sexual assault be obliged to describe her male assailant using the pronouns of his choosing? According to a ruling from South Australian Chief Justice Chris Kourakis, compliance with such a request, even in a rape trial, is “a matter of respect”.

Respect for whom, one might well ask. Certainly not the victim, potentially denied the right to describe the assault as she perceived it. As JK Rowling tweeted in response to last Wednesday’s ruling, “female victims of male violence are further traumatised by being forced to speak a lie”. Then again, as many would and have countered, this all depends on your understanding of “lie”.


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