The Paper Tigress: Canadian Obscenity Law 20 Years after R v Butler

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The Supreme Court of Canada’s 1992 decision in R. v Butler was viewed by its supporters and its critics as having important and far-reaching consequences. In fact, a survey of the available obscenity cases prosecuted after Butler demonstrates that the offence is rarely used to target sexist and sexually violent pornography, with only one reported conviction in the past fifteen years. There are a number of possible reasons for this outcome, including the normalization and pervasiveness of sexual violence against women and an undue narrowing of the harms identified in Butler. This article examines the limited use of the obscenity offence from 1992-2012 and calls for a renewed consideration of how to address the harms of pornography consistent with a commitment to sex equality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
JournalCanadian Bar Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2015

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