Author granted license

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1995




Yale University




This article explores the idea and imagery of inviolability. I use a trilogy of terms-the castle, the sanctuary, and the body-to illuminate different loci of inviolability and to show how notions of sacredness and sanctity undergird the legal protection of inviolability. These images, familiar from privacy jurisprudence, provide a useful lens through which to examine the association between inviolability and gender. Familiar feminist critiques suggest that concepts such as privacy have served to deny, rather than to secure, inviolability for women and women's bodies. I explore the interplay of inviolability and privacy in some prominent feminist accounts of sexuality, and I use the trilogy of castle, sanctuary, and body to offer some thoughts about envisioning inviolability for women, particularity in the contexts of bodily integrity and personal autonomy.



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