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Should we get rid of trial by jury?


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  #41  
June 15th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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Team Margaret. That is all.

No it's not. I'm actually really disgusted by some of the implications in this thread that some rape victims are actually people who consented and then had "buyer's remorse." In the case of rape allegations, it's the victim who is considered lying until proven honest.

ETA: I can't just stop typing apparently. This is not directed specifically at anyone's family member/friend/whatever who has been accused of rape. Pursuing a rape conviction is pretty awful for the victim. It's invasive and humiliating, ESPECIALLY if it goes before a jury. Anyone who is willing to go through that, I'm really, really inclined to think has actually been raped. I know there are exceptions (although I can't think of any), but they are most definitely exceptions, not the rule.
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  #42  
June 15th, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
Team Margaret. That is all.

No it's not. I'm actually really disgusted by some of the implications in this thread that some rape victims are actually people who consented and then had "buyer's remorse." In the case of rape allegations, it's the victim who is considered lying until proven honest.

ETA: I can't just stop typing apparently. This is not directed specifically at anyone's family member/friend/whatever who has been accused of rape. Pursuing a rape conviction is pretty awful for the victim. It's invasive and humiliating, ESPECIALLY if it goes before a jury. Anyone who is willing to go through that, I'm really, really inclined to think has actually been raped. I know there are exceptions (although I can't think of any), but they are most definitely exceptions, not the rule.
Ditto! (I have my hand in enough cookie jars and I need to go to bed!)
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  #43  
June 16th, 2010, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
Team Margaret. That is all.

No it's not. I'm actually really disgusted by some of the implications in this thread that some rape victims are actually people who consented and then had "buyer's remorse." In the case of rape allegations, it's the victim who is considered lying until proven honest.

ETA: I can't just stop typing apparently. This is not directed specifically at anyone's family member/friend/whatever who has been accused of rape. Pursuing a rape conviction is pretty awful for the victim. It's invasive and humiliating, ESPECIALLY if it goes before a jury. Anyone who is willing to go through that, I'm really, really inclined to think has actually been raped. I know there are exceptions (although I can't think of any), but they are most definitely exceptions, not the rule.
Exactly.

I am actually sickened by some of the statements made in this thread. It isn't the handful of false accusations that make a rape allegation so hard to prove, it is the attitudes prevalent in this thread that make hard to convict. The automatic assumption is NOT that the alleged victim is telling the truth. The jury is NOT favored to the alleged victim of rape. The fact is, due to the very attitudes rampant in this thread, the accuser is the one that is put on trial. The accuser is assumed to be a liar or a sah-lut. The accuser is assumed to have "asked for it" or to have invited the rape. The accuser is assumed to be some drunk party girl with buyer's remorse. The ACCUSED are assumed to be the VICTIMS. He is assumed to be the hapless, poor guy who stumbled on a drunken and/or loose/moral-less party girl/s-lut and is suffering the consequences for taking what she "advertised".

Don't you dare tell me that I had the advantage when I had to answer the questions that I did. Don't you dare tell me that I was the favor to "win", when the outfit I was raped in was submitted into evidence as proof that I was "inviting" sex because I was wearing a fitted, v-neck t-shirt with a padded bra and mini skirt.

Yeah, it was a cake walk. Don't even get me started on the rape kit.

There is little evidence that could convince me that a person who was lying about rape would endure the humiliation of a rape kit, coupled with the abuse of seeking a conviction. Just sayin...
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  #44  
June 16th, 2010, 07:12 AM
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Well, Jess and Stacey you pretty much summed it up for me! I agree completely.
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  #45  
June 16th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
In the case of rape allegations, it's the victim who is considered lying until proven honest.
Well....isn't that actually the way it's supposed to be? Although you phrased this in a way that makes it sound absolutely terrible, what is actually the difference between 'the victim is considered lying until proven honest' and 'the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty'? The latter is a maxim that we consider to be almost sacrosanct. If someone were accused of robbing a store, doesn't the burden of proof lie upon the prosecution to demonstrate that a crime has actually occurred? Rape is a more extreme crime, and with more extreme consequences for the victim, but the underlying legal principle should be the same in each.

I'm sure that it happens both ways. Many defendants accused of rape are acquitted when they shouldn't have been, and others are found guilty when they shouldn't have been. If I were to guess I would say that the former happens more often than the latter, but I have no numbers or statistics to back it up. It's unfortunate that we don't have a crystal ball that would enable us to know exactly what happened in every single situation.

I will say, though, that in the case of child abuse allegations, even if the actual charges don't stick, the defendant's life is forever altered simply by having been accused. Especially if you are a teacher, if you are ever accused of child abuse or child molestation, regardless of the veracity of the charges, you will never teach again. That's it. And, because of the psychological studies that have shown that children are extremely impressionable and can begin to adopt memories as true, simply based on the power of suggestion, I am inclined to believe that false charges are probably brought more often when it comes to child abuse than when it comes to rape of adult women. Hopefully this doesn't happen as often now, because of the procedural protections that have been put in place to ensure that questioning of children happens under controlled circumstances, but it has happened before, and it can still happen again.
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  #46  
June 16th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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I think I need to try and bow out of this thread because the consistent assertions that the majority of rape allegations are falsified is making my blood boil.

Do you have any idea what a rape victim is up against, if the charges even make it to trial? Anyone that believes that the majority of CONVICTED rapists are falsely imprisoned, based on a false accusation, is DELUSIONAL.

No, it is NOT okay that a rape victim is assumed to be a liar. It is NOT okay that the rape victim is the one that is put on trial. It is NOT okay that the rape victim is re-victimized by the very system we look to for protection.

No one asks the victim of a mugging why he/she was carrying such a nice wallet/purse. Rape victims are scrutinized if it is believed that they were dressed provacatively. No one would say a person deserved to be robbed because they had a nice house and "asked for it". A victim of robbery wouldn't be discredited because he/she knew the person that robbed them. Rape is the only crime that people blame the victim for.

If you want to know why so few rape victims come forward, look at the attitudes towards rape victims in this thread. If you want to know why, for those that do come forward, few victims will see their attackers convicted, look in this thread.
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  #47  
June 16th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by StaceyC View Post
I think I need to try and bow out of this thread because the consistent assertions that the majority of rape allegations are falsified is making my blood boil.
Can you please tell me where I said that? In fact, I said the reverse. Some defendants are falsely accused, but more defendants are falsely acquitted.
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  #48  
June 16th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Well....isn't that actually the way it's supposed to be? Although you phrased this in a way that makes it sound absolutely terrible, what is actually the difference between 'the victim is considered lying until proven honest' and 'the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty'? The latter is a maxim that we consider to be almost sacrosanct. If someone were accused of robbing a store, doesn't the burden of proof lie upon the prosecution to demonstrate that a crime has actually occurred? Rape is a more extreme crime, and with more extreme consequences for the victim, but the underlying legal principle should be the same in each.
The very nature of sexual assault puts it in a whole different class than other crimes against persons. In the case of simple assault, it's obvious the victim isn't lying about the assault. But you take a sex assault with injuries like bruising on the neck and a black eye and people wonder if she likes it rough. With a simple assault, juries think the victim was obviously assaulted but maybe she didn't get a good look at her assailant. In other words, the victim is not lying about being attacked.

People are much more sympathetic to the victim when the scenario involves an intruder breaking into her home and raping her, because in that scenario she couldn't have been asking for it.

To clarify, I wasn't speaking of legal proceedings or jury instructions. I was talking about how society looks at a rape victim differently than it does a simple assault victim.

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Originally Posted by brui77 View Post
I'm sure that it happens both ways. Many defendants accused of rape are acquitted when they shouldn't have been, and others are found guilty when they shouldn't have been. If I were to guess I would say that the former happens more often than the latter, but I have no numbers or statistics to back it up. It's unfortunate that we don't have a crystal ball that would enable us to know exactly what happened in every single situation.
Probably. It's hard to say. Ask anyone serving time for sexual assault and they will swear up and down they didn't do it.

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I will say, though, that in the case of child abuse allegations, even if the actual charges don't stick, the defendant's life is forever altered simply by having been accused. Especially if you are a teacher, if you are ever accused of child abuse or child molestation, regardless of the veracity of the charges, you will never teach again. That's it. And, because of the psychological studies that have shown that children are extremely impressionable and can begin to adopt memories as true, simply based on the power of suggestion, I am inclined to believe that false charges are probably brought more often when it comes to child abuse than when it comes to rape of adult women. Hopefully this doesn't happen as often now, because of the procedural protections that have been put in place to ensure that questioning of children happens under controlled circumstances, but it has happened before, and it can still happen again.
This is exactly what I was talking about. People don't believe children are credible witnesses and allegations are automatically assumed false. I know you didn't say that in those words, but this was a classic thought process of turning the accused into the victim.

The thing with molestation cases is that even if the charges don't stick due to a lack of evidence, that doesn't mean it never happened. You can't disprove a sexual assault, and it is very, very difficult to prove one. For this reason, I don't put a lot of stock into the word "false" when used in this context. I just acknowledge that it's impossible to really know the truth.
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  #49  
June 16th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Stacey, are you contesting that no man has ever been falsely accused of rape? I agree that the factors you've listed (rape kits, intense questioning, etc.), act as a strong disincentive for victimized women to come forward, and therefore probably contribute to many guilty men walking free. But I also don't think that you can make such a broad-sweeping generalization as to say that no woman has EVER lied about being raped. Some women (some men, too -- some people, I should say) are sociopaths, or pathological liars, or are simply insane. False memories can be planted. It may not happen often, but is has happened.

In fact, I can think of at least one instance that was publicized on the news (actually on Dateline) where a woman was raped, and as she was being raped, she looked the man directly in the face and attempted to memorize his features. Later, she identified the man in a line-up, and swore up and down in court that he was the man who raped her. He was convicted and sent for a life sentence. But all the time, he insisted he was innocent. Many years later, DNA evidence was found that proved without a doubt that he had been innocent all along. They actually found the man who had really raped her, and photos of the two men looked almost identical. It was an uncanny similarity. So in this case, the women was NOT lying about BEING raped, but she was mistaken about who had raped her. (Through no fault of her own -- in fact, Dateline used this piece as an avenue for talking about how faulty memory is, how easy it is for us to mistake one face for another when under stress, etc.). The woman was well-intentioned and was certainly the victim of a brutal crime, but the trial still led to a false conviction. (Incidentally, the rape victim and the falsely accused man have now reconciled and are good friends). I'll see if I can find the article.
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  #50  
June 16th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Here is the article:

Eyewitness: How Accurate Is Visual Memory? - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Actually I also heard an extremely interesting NPR program about this, where they were talking about psychological studies that have shown that people the world over have more difficulty distinguishing between the facial features of those who are of a different ethnic/racial group from themselves than they do for people of their own racial group. I know it's cliche and horrible to say "All those people look like," but unfortunately, in terms of our brains and our visual memory, it's actually true. White people, on average, have an easier time distinguishing between the faces of two white people than they do between two black people. Black people, on average, have an easier time distinguishing between the faces of two black people than they do between two white people. etc. So this analyst was saying, we should be able to bring psychological studies like this into the court of law, and say to the jury, "You know, this is a white person testifying against a black person, and you're about to convict this person based on eyewitness testimony alone" or, "You know, this is an Asian person testifying against a white person, can you really be sure that the victim has correctly identified the assailant?" But of course we can't do that, because we like to pretend that our courts (and our minds) are color-blinded. The sad truth is that they're not.

Here is an article profiling one of the types of situation I described in the first paragraph above, where a woman actually claimed to have been raped when she hadn't (in this case it was due to a false memory): Woman who falsely accused man of rape, sending him to prison for 4 years, gets 1-3 years jail But I have to warn you that some of the user comments at the bottom of this article are extremely vile and offensive, so I would suggest you not read them.

False convictions DO happen -- rarely, but they do.
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  #51  
June 16th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by brui77 View Post
Stacey, are you contesting that no man has ever been falsely accused of rape?
Please, PLEASE, show me where I made such an absolute. PLEASE!
Quote:
I agree that the factors you've listed (rape kits, intense questioning, etc.), act as a strong disincentive for victimized women to come forward, and therefore probably contribute to many guilty men walking free. But I also don't think that you can make such a broad-sweeping generalization as to say that no woman has EVER lied about being raped.
NEVER. SAID. THAT.
It is funny, though. The sweeping generalizations that have been made, that I have been responding to, garner your approval and, yet, you want to take issue with me for things I never said.
Quote me. Show me where I stated "NO WOMAN HAS EVER LIED ABOUT BEING RAPED.". Don't try and invalidate my statements by lying.
Quote:
Some women (some men, too -- some people, I should say) are sociopaths, or pathological liars, or are simply insane. False memories can be planted. It may not happen often, but is has happened.
Again, the sweeping generalizations are being made by those that I have responded to. Let me give you an example, mmmkay?

Juries will almost always favor women who claim
to be raped, a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.
Quote:
In fact, I can think of at least one instance that was publicized on the news (actually on Dateline) where a woman was raped, and as she was being raped, she looked the man directly in the face and attempted to memorize his features. Later, she identified the man in a line-up, and swore up and down in court that he was the man who raped her. He was convicted and sent for a life sentence. But all the time, he insisted he was innocent. Many years later, DNA evidence was found that proved without a doubt that he had been innocent all along. They actually found the man who had really raped her, and photos of the two men looked almost identical. It was an uncanny similarity. So in this case, the women was NOT lying about BEING raped, but she was mistaken about who had raped her. (Through no fault of her own -- in fact, Dateline used this piece as an avenue for talking about how faulty memory is, how easy it is for us to mistake one face for another when under stress, etc.). The woman was well-intentioned and was certainly the victim of a brutal crime, but the trial still led to a false conviction. (Incidentally, the rape victim and the falsely accused man have now reconciled and are good friends). I'll see if I can find the article.
See above. I don't need you or anyone else to tell me about the psychological aftermath of rape. Really. I get it.
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  #52  
June 16th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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Please, PLEASE, show me where I made such an absolute. PLEASE!

NEVER. SAID. THAT.
It is funny, though. The sweeping generalizations that have been made, that I have been responding to, garner your approval and, yet, you want to take issue with me for things I never said.
Quote me. Show me where I stated "NO WOMAN HAS EVER LIED ABOUT BEING RAPED.". Don't try and invalidate my statements by lying.
I didn't say that you made an absolute statement, I was asking you if you were. And now I know that you weren't. Check. I also wasn't trying to defend any of the sweeping generalizations that had been made previously. I'm attempting to point out that a middle ground between the two extremes is likely the closest to the truth.
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  #53  
June 16th, 2010, 10:45 AM
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Well, Molly, I have to say that kind of proves what are arguing. The fact that you can think of a specific case where a person was falsely accused of rape shows how rare it is. It is so rare yet it for some reason people always bring it up when this issue comes up.
How many of us know someone who was falsely accused of rape?
How many of us know someone who was raped? How many of us were raped ourselves? How many of us know MULTIPLE people who were raped? How many of us know a person or people who have been raped more than once?


Molly, I think there are some important distinctions between between 'the victim is considered lying until proven honest' and 'the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty'?
1) in most, not all but most, violent crimes there is no doubt that the crime happened it is just that prosecution has to prove that the defendant was the actual person who committed the crime. Rarely in a murder, robbery, assault etc does the defendant try and argue that the person consented or that it never happened - just that they weren't the ones to do it.
2) As Jess already said, the sexual nature of the crime puts it in a whole other class that can't really be compared. A lot of times it comes down to consent. A battery victim doesn't have to try and prove she didn't want to be beat to bloody pulp.


There are stats but I don't have time to look them up right now - SO SO many women never even report the crime because they know what they are up against.

Stacey I am SO very sorry you had such a horrible experience even after being attacked. My sister was raped as a teen - date rape - and she was treated with nothing but respect and dignity from the detectives that handled the case but none-the-less there was just not enough evidence to proceed. That happens all the time.

oh, and I just wanted to add - I hope this thread isn't closed.
This is such an important topic. This discussion involves mindsets that run deep throughout our society. This issue has probably touched each one of us in a very personal way.
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  #54  
June 16th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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There are stats but I don't have time to look them up right now - SO SO many women never even report the crime because they know what they are up against.
Rape and Sexual Assault (kind of old but close enough)

Quote:
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the average number of rapes and sexual assaults during 2002 and 2003 was 223,290 of which 81,310 crimes were rapes; 61,060 were attempted rapes, and 80,910 were sexual assaults.

Only 36 percent of completed rapes were reported to the police during the years 1992 to 2000. Thirty-four percent of the attempted rapes, and 26 percent of the completed and attempted sexual assaults were reported.

A recently published eight-year study indicates that when perpetrators of completed rape are current or former husbands or boyfriends, the crimes go unreported to the police 77 percent of the time. When the perpetrators are friends or acquaintances, the rapes go unreported 61 percent of the time. When the perpetrators are strangers, the rapes go unreported 54 percent of the time.
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  #55  
June 16th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Well, Molly, I have to say that kind of proves what are arguing. The fact that you can think of a specific case where a person was falsely accused of rape shows how rare it is.
I don't disagree with you there.

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How many of us know someone who was falsely accused of rape?
How many of us know someone who was raped? How many of us were raped ourselves? How many of us know MULTIPLE people who were raped? How many of us know a person or people who have been raped more than once?
I don't know anyone who fits into any of these categories, aside from on this board. My life has been very blessed thus far.

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1) in most, not all but most, violent crimes there is no doubt that the crime happened it is just that prosecution has to prove that the defendant was the actual person who committed the crime. Rarely in a murder, robbery, assault etc does the defendant try and argue that the person consented or that it never happened - just that they weren't the ones to do it.
2) As Jess already said, the sexual nature of the crime puts it in a whole other class that can't really be compared. A lot of times it comes down to consent. A battery victim doesn't have to try and prove she didn't want to be beat to bloody pulp.
I think that this means that any questioning of the rape victim needs to be done in a very careful way, with the utmost courtesy and respect. And clearly, tragically, that's not the case in the status quo. But I don't think that the unique nature of rape means that the victim shouldn't be questioned. Frankly, I don't envy anyone the position of being a Defense Attorney for an accused rapist. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to insinuate that the woman was lying, or to try to poke holes in her story. But I also believe very passionately that everyone has the right to a fair trial, and to the presumption of innocence. If a man is about to be convicted of rape based almost exclusively on the testimony of one witness (the victim), then what else is the Defense Attorney supposed to do besides cast doubt on the credibility of that witness?
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  #56  
June 16th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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I don't disagree with you there.



I don't know anyone who fits into any of these categories, aside from on this board. My life has been very blessed thus far.
You just don't know anyone that has divulged their experience with you. Statistically speaking, if you know more than six women, you know someone that has been sexually assaulted.

Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail, according to Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
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  #57  
June 16th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by brui77 View Post
I think that this means that any questioning of the rape victim needs to be done in a very careful way, with the utmost courtesy and respect. And clearly, tragically, that's not the case in the status quo. But I don't think that the unique nature of rape means that the victim shouldn't be questioned. Frankly, I don't envy anyone the position of being a Defense Attorney for an accused rapist. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to insinuate that the woman was lying, or to try to poke holes in her story. But I also believe very passionately that everyone has the right to a fair trial, and to the presumption of innocence. If a man is about to be convicted of rape based almost exclusively on the testimony of one witness (the victim), then what else is the Defense Attorney supposed to do besides cast doubt on the credibility of that witness?
For the record, I was never questioned by the defense attorney. My case never made it that far. I was only questioned by the police. I was interrogated, in the hospital, when I reported the rape and, again, when I went to the police station to give my "official statement".

I was asked if I was a virgin because there was blood running down my legs. When I told them I was not, I was asked how many sexual partners I had prior to the rape. I was asked what I was wearing. They took my clothes from the hospital as evidence and I was asked why I was wearing a padded bra and if I was aware of how short my skirt was (it was about 4 in above the knee). I was asked if I had danced with either of the defendents or if I felt I had been flirtatious. The biggest blow to my credibility, it seems, was that I had willingly gone to their apartment with them, where the rape occurred. These guys were friends of mine, we had worked together for some time, and I trusted them. We had been at a work party and they asked me to come sober up at their apartmen for a while before driving home. I did and I was raped. Therefore, obviously, I was to blame because, as the police said, I had "put myself" in the situation. I was drunk, I was in a mini skirt and a push up bra and I willingly went to their apartment....which obviously meant I was going to have a threesome with them.

If I knew someone that had been raped and they asked me what to do, I would not encourage them to report the rape. Not after my experience.
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  #58  
June 16th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by brui77 View Post


I think that this means that any questioning of the rape victim needs to be done in a very careful way, with the utmost courtesy and respect. And clearly, tragically, that's not the case in the status quo. But I don't think that the unique nature of rape means that the victim shouldn't be questioned. Frankly, I don't envy anyone the position of being a Defense Attorney for an accused rapist. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to insinuate that the woman was lying, or to try to poke holes in her story. But I also believe very passionately that everyone has the right to a fair trial, and to the presumption of innocence. If a man is about to be convicted of rape based almost exclusively on the testimony of one witness (the victim), then what else is the Defense Attorney supposed to do besides cast doubt on the credibility of that witness?
I don't disagree. Of course the victim needs to be questioned. I also don't the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" should be changed. The fact is - these are HARD cases to prove. The tragic thing is that so very many women are raped and never see justice because they are so hard to prove and so many people think - the man was never brought to trial or never found guilty therefore the women was lying, asking for it etc.

This whole thing started because the comment was made that a jury ALWAYS believes a child or a women claiming rape or molestation and that got people all worked up because the truth is so far from that statement.

THe other big issue for me is the mindset of society when it comes to this issue. If someone told you (general) that their house was broken into you would likely believe them. Of course it would be the investigators job to verify that, ask questions etc but the average joe would certainly believe that if a relative, neighbor, classmate said their house had been broken into. It does happen though that people stage break ins for insurance fraud but that isn't even close to the first thing that pops into people's mind.
Rape on the other hand is the opposite - yes, some people will believe the victim's claim but so many people immediately question the claim - what were you wearing? why don't you have more physical injuries? why didn't you call the police immediately?
If someone claimed their house was broken into the vast majority of the public wouldn't even think to ask questions to try and determine if the victim was believable or honest.
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  #59  
June 16th, 2010, 11:43 AM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Well....isn't that actually the way it's supposed to be? Although you phrased this in a way that makes it sound absolutely terrible, what is actually the difference between 'the victim is considered lying until proven honest' and 'the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty'? The latter is a maxim that we consider to be almost sacrosanct. If someone were accused of robbing a store, doesn't the burden of proof lie upon the prosecution to demonstrate that a crime has actually occurred? Rape is a more extreme crime, and with more extreme consequences for the victim, but the underlying legal principle should be the same in each.
Uh, NO. Saying you have to prove the victim is telling the truth, and saying the defendant is innocent until proven guilty is not the same thing AT ALL. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty because mistakes in identification and forensic evidence can be made. That does NOT nullify the fact that the victim was raped!

And seriously, it's okay to attack the victim because the attorney can't figure out another way to make his/her case?
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  #60  
June 16th, 2010, 01:08 PM
Beneath_The_Rose's Avatar WTTC #1
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I didn't mean to turn this into a rape debate I was just merely listing some major points where a jury could be falsely swayed. I never even anywhere said I had the mindset of "all people who claim to be raped are liars" like it's making it sound like I said. That is just an assumption that was based on one little example of a possible scenario. I don't think everyone who says they are raped are lying I just acknowledge that it has happen and know of people in real life who have lied they just chose not to go through court because they knew they were lying. The vast majority of those who go through court and the trials and humiliation of going public I have no doubt are telling the truth.

I just don't want to be labeled as the person who "made light of rape" when I had no intention of that at all and wasn't even focusing around that point.
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