Author(s): Anthony Hopkins
Legislative reform to the law of sexual assault in New South Wales in 2007 emphasises that those who wish to engage in sexual intercourse must take steps to ensure that they do so with consent. The new laws’ intent was to ensure free, voluntary and communicated consent, and to punish those who take advantage of the intoxication of their victim, or seek to hide behind their own intoxication. Further, the intent was to promote awareness and expectation with respect to acceptable consensual sexual activity. This article identifies a discord between this legislative intent and the reporting and commentary in the newsprint media which continues to focus on victim intoxication and behaviour as a matter of ‘risk’. The contention here is that until the legislative intent is reflected in the newsprint media the national conversation on sexual assault will remain impoverished, limiting the potential to focus the spotlight on perpetrators.