Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)

First Advisor

Benjamin L. Berger


This thesis challenges the tendency within feminist legal thought to imagine a sharp division between law and lived experience, and specifically between feminist methods that engage legal discourse and those that invoke grassroots narratives grounded in experience. In order to better elucidate the relationship between legal and experiential discourses, the author compares recent legal discourse on sexual assault focusing on two Supreme Court of Canada decisions with women's own accounts of sexual violence, as presented in mainstream news media in the wake of the 2014 Jian Ghomeshi story. The findings, examined through the lens of feminist scholarship, support a view of legal and experiential discourses on sexual violence as deeply intertwined and mutually constitutive. While law shapes accounts of firsthand experience, experiential accounts also hold the potential to shape, or reform, the law. This understanding suggests a different vision of the nature and process of law reform.


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