Rom-coms, rape law, and restorative justice: Lessons with Shirin Bakhshay

On Oct. 6, 2018, the Senate voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh in the midst of sexual assault claims by Christine Blasey Ford. There have been new accusations that emerged on Sept. 15, 2019 by Deborah Ramirez, a student at Yale at the same time as the Supreme Court justice. These assaults took place in the 1980s through the late ’90s, a signature feature of this era being the influx of romantic comedies full of mistaken identities, wacky hijinks and the gleeful normalization of rape.

The romantic comedy genre is built on the tension between unrequited lovers, presenting romancea precarious balance of emotions and desiresas ripe for comedy. However, making a mockery of love is a dangerous narrative gamble, and more often than not, it fails. In rom-coms, actions from rape to civil offenses are portrayed as romantic, and these mischaracterizations of love undeniably fuel the justifications of rape culture…

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