Suzanne Zaccour is a DPhil student conducting research on rape law. Her dissertation is supervised by Prof. Jonathan Herring and Prof. Rebecca Williams.

Prior to coming to Oxford, she completed a B.C.L. & LL.B. at McGill University, an LL.M. at the University of Toronto, and an LL.M. at the University of Cambridge. She is an Oxford Farthings scholar at Pembroke College.

She is the author of books on gender and language, and sexual violence. 

Suzanne Zaccour's personal website: 


Displaying 1 - 6 of 6. Sorted by year, then title.
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  • S Zaccour, La fabrique du viol (Leméac 2019)
  • S Zaccour, 'Crazy Women and Hysterical Mothers: The Use of Gendered Mental-Health-Related Labels in Custody Disputes' (2018) Canadian Journal of Family Law 57
    This research studies the use of gendered mental-health labels, such as "crazy," "hysterical," "insane," and "emotionally unstable," in Canadian custody cases decided between 2000 and 2016. Building on Judith Mosoff's work on gender and mental health stigma in custody proceedings, it maps how these "pop-psychology" labels impact custody litigation. This investigation reveals that mental-health labels serve to discredit the mother, attack her parenting abilities, and distract from her allegations of violence by the father. The article also explores fathers', mental health experts', and judges'roles in framing the mother's credibility and parental capacity with regard to her alleged mental instability. It observes how the unjustified use of mental-health labels can backfire against the father, and how mothers can link out-of-court mental-health insults to legal arguments supporting their claim for custody. Although producing varied consequences, mental-health labels often reinforce gender biases and myths regarding domestic violence.
  • S Zaccour, 'Parental Alienation in Quebec Custody Litigation' (2018) Cahiers de droit 1073
    This article is a study of all Quebec custody cases dealing with parental alienation in 2016. It explores the definitions, findings and implications of parental alienation in legal disputes, in light of the models of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome described in the academic literature. This research confirms feminists’ skepticism toward the use of parental alienation in custody litigation. It concludes that alienation has varying and inconsistent definitions in law, that there is a considerable disconnect between scientific knowledge and judges’ understanding of alienation, and that the concept of parental alienation in law is ambiguous and over-inclusive, seemingly to the detriment of mothers. There is a dire need for clearer and stricter guidelines on the use of parental alienation to ensure the accuracy, coherence, and fairness of the case law.
  • Michaël Lessard and S Zaccour, 'Quel genre de droit? Autopsie du sexisme dans la langue juridique' (2017) Revue de droit de l'Université de Sherbrooke 227
    English: Would you say of a court whose jurisdiction was reduced that it was “emasculated”? Would you say of a child who was raped that she enjoyed a “sexual adventure”? Would you say of a high-ranking woman that “he” got the job? If you answered “no” to these provocations, you will enjoy this article. If you answered “yes”, you need to read it. Here we track sexism in the language of the law. Erasing women, pathologizing mothers, normalizing violence: these are but some of the discriminatory effects of the linguistic sexism that we undertake to detail in its every shape and form. The study of linguistic sexism must become a proper area of research. To this end, we offer a nomenclature of jurilinguistic sexisms (lexical, grammatical, terminological), as well as two new notions: ostentatious feminines and the linguistic glass ceiling. The former qualifies feminine forms that are significantly different from the masculine. The latter refers to some people’s stubborn designation of women in power in the masculine form in French. Our study offers tools for judges, lawyers, notaries, legists, and other legal practitioners to unmask the sexism hidden in their communications and familiarize themselves with new developments in inclusive writing. Français: Diriez-vous d’un tribunal dont on limite la compétence qu’on lui coupe les couilles? Diriez-vous d’une enfant violée qu’elle a vécu une « aventure sexuelle »? Diriez-vous de 30 avocates et d’un document qu’« ils » se trouvent dans la salle d’audience? Si vous avez répondu « non » à ces provocations, vous aimerez cet article. Si vous avez répondu « oui », vous en avez besoin. Nous traquons ici le sexisme dans la langue du droit. Effacer les femmes, pathologiser les mères, banaliser les violences: tels sont quelquesuns des effets discriminatoires de ce sexisme langagier que nous entreprenons de détailler sous toutes ses coutures. L’analyse du sexisme langagier doit devenir un champ d’étude en bonne et due forme. À cette fin, nous offrons une nomenclature des sexismes jurilinguistiques (lexical, grammatical, terminologique…), ainsi que deux nouvelles notions: la féminisation ostentatoire, un féminin marquée à l’oral, et le plafond de verre linguistique, cette obstination à nommer au masculin les femmes occupant de hautes fonctions. Notre étude offre des outils aux juges, avocat·es, notaires, légistes et autres practicien·nes du droit pour démasquer le sexisme caché dans leurs communications et se familiariser avec les nouveaux développements en matière de rédaction inclusive.

Research Interests

Rape Law; Feminist Legal Theory; Law and Language; Family Law; Animal Rights. 

Research projects