Credibility Excess and the Social Imaginary in Cases of Sexual Assault
This paper will connect literature on epistemic injustice with literature on victims and perpetrators, to argue that in addition to considering the credibility deficit suffered by many victims, we should also consider the credibility excess accorded to many perpetrators. Epistemic injustice, as discussed by Miranda Fricker, considers ways in which someone might be wronged in their capacity as a knower. Testimonial injustice occurs when there is a credibility deficit as a result of identityprejudicial stereotypes. However, criticisms of Fricker have pointed out that credibility is part of a more complex system that includes both deficits and excesses. I will use these points to argue that we should look closer at sources of credibility excess in cases of sexual assault. This means that in addition to considering sources of victim blaming by looking at ways in which “ideal” victims are constructed, we also need to consider ways in which “ideal” perpetrators are constructed.
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