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Engendering Hate Crime Policy: Gender, the "Dilemma of Difference," and the Creation of Legal Subjects


Valerie Jenness

University of California, Irvine, US
About Valerie
Dr. Valerie Jenness is Chair and Professor of Criminology
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Nearly six years after two women were bound and gagged and had their throats slit while camping and hiking in Shenandoah National Park, U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft held a historic nationally televised press conferenceon April 11, 2002 to announce that the U.S. Justice Department invoked the federal hate crimes statute for the first time to charge the alleged murderer with hate crime. In announcing the indictment, Ashcroft spoke at length about his meeting with the parents of the victims and about the lives and characters of the young women: two Midwesterners who migrated to New England, met and became lovers, and shared the love of science and the outdoors. Justifying the invocation of federal hate crime law, which carries with it enhanced penalties, Ashcroft said, “Criminal acts of hate run counter to what is best in America, our belief in equality and freedom. The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate, prosecute, and punish criminal acts of violence and vigilantism motivated by hate and intolerance.”1 Moreover, he said, “We will pursue, prosecute, and punish those who attack law-abiding Americans out of hatred for who they are,” and “Hatred is the enemy of justice, regardless of its source.”2

How to Cite: Jenness, V., 2003. Engendering Hate Crime Policy: Gender, the \"Dilemma of Difference,\" and the Creation of Legal Subjects. Journal of Hate Studies, 2(1), pp.73–97. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2003.
Peer Reviewed


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