In 1984, the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) was dubbed "Ontario’s most successful rapist trap." Since then, the kit has become the key source of evidence in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault as well as a symbol of victims’ improved access to care and justice. Unfortunately, the SAEK has failed to live up to these promises.
The Technoscientific Witness of Rape is the first book to chart the thirty year history of the sexual assault evidence kit and its role in a criminal justice system that re-victimizes many assault victims in their quest for medical treatment and justice. Drawing on actor-network theory and feminist technology studies, Andrea Quinlan combs through sixty-two interviews with police, nurses, scientists, and lawyers, as well as archival records and legal cases to trace changes in sexual assault forensics, law, advocacy, and anti-violence activism in Ontario. Through this history Quinlan bravely and provocatively argues that the SAEK reflects and reinforces the criminal justice system’s distrust of sexual assault victims.
About the author
Andrea Quinlan is an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo. Her research examines the intersections of law, science, technology, and medicine in legal responses to sexual violence, as well as the influence of feminist anti-violence movements on sexual assault policy, law, and institutional practice. Her forthcoming book is titled The Technoscientific Witness of Rape: Contentious Histories of Law, Feminism, and Forensic Science.
- Short-listed, Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize