A 17-year-old girl went to police at the urging of her friends after she was allegedly gang-raped by three men, including her boyfriend. The men testified that the act was consensual. After reviewing all the information and statements, prosecutors decided they didnâ€™t think they could prove a rape allegation, and so declined to prosecute the case.
Instead, they prosecuted the victim for filing a false police report. Yesterday, she was found guilty.
The victim has never recanted her story. Instead, the decision was based on the judgeâ€™s opinion that the three men were more credible, in part because a police detective and the victimâ€™s friends testified she did not â€œact traumatizedâ€? in the days after the incident.
Apparently the men consider themselves experts on how one reacts to being raped.
Let me give you some more informationâ€”something that is only a possibility because The American Streetâ€™s Kevin Hayden has known the victim nearly her whole life. He attended the trial. He noticed that the prosecutor repeatedly referred to the attackers as â€œboys,â€? even though they were grown men and the victim was 17. He noticed that the judge acknowledged he had found inconsistencies in all of their stories, but, inexplicably, decided that the same reasonable doubt that kept prosecutors from pursuing charges against the attackers wasnâ€™t enough to keep him from finding the victim guilty.
Already we live in a country where rapists are considered victims and rape victims are considered some sort of evil. Look at how it plays with celebrities, such as with Kobe Bryant's case -- where the facts themselves were not disputed, yet Bryant was boosted and supported by people who passed all sorts of judgments on his alleged victim. The woman received death threats, presumably not from the Laker fans who leave at the end of the 3rd quarter of every game.
Already, rape is the one violent crime where the victim's testimony is rarely enough to bring about a conviction. Now we have victims risking charges if they don't put on a good show for the D.A.?
As Shakespeare's Sister notes, "only 10% of victims of sex crimes in Oregon file reports with police."
She goes on to dispel with the urban legends MRA types like to trot forth as pseudo-facts, and then points up some hard and fast truths:
Rape is underreported. Reporting a rape is difficult, and can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Quite bluntly, there is very little incentive to report a rape. Itâ€™s a terrible experience, and the likelihood of seeing justice served is a long shot. Even if it is, it usually comes at great personal cost, with oneâ€™s sexual history put on public display amidst the dismay of reliving the attackâ€”and an extended trial can necessitate living in a state of suspended animation, where moving on from that moment is all but impossible. The only real incentive one has is knowing the sacrifice might prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. Not a small thing, but a big personal investment.
And now, women have one less reason to come forwardâ€”the possible horror of watching their attackers go free while they are found guilty.
Score another one for the patriarchy. Rape culture is saved for another day.
The Heretik has an excellent blog round-up on this story.
Update 2: Title typo fixed. Yes, I can spell, sometimes.
Update 3: The Heretik has more on this story.