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ISBN: 9781552660829-04

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Piercing the Veil of Ignorance

Niqab-Wearing Women and the Adjudication of Sexual Assault

From: In Your Face


Part I of this chapter addresses women’s experiences with the judicial system in the context of sexual assault. Part II closely examines a Canadian case in which a niqab-wearing sexual assault complainant wished to testify in her usual clothing. Part III analyzes problematic judicial interpretations that refuse to include niqab-wearing women in courtrooms.



Natasha Bakht

Natasha Bakht is a full professor of law at the University of Ottawa and the Shirley Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession. She has taught courses in family law; criminal law; children and the law; the law and policy of multiculturalism; and women, religion, and law. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 2003 and served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada. Her legal scholarship explores the intersection between religious freedom and women’s equality. She served as the English language editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law from 2014 to 2020. Natasha’s legal activism includes involvement with the National Association of Women and the Law and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She was named one of the top fifty people in city by Ottawa Life Magazine (2009), received a Femmy Award by International Women’s Day Ottawa for being a thought leader in the National Capital Region (2017), and received the South Asian Bar Association’s Legal Excellence Award (2019).