(WCCO) Eagan, Minn. When most of us fill up at the gas pump, we put in our credit card and forget about that tiny receipt. Some of us don't even get one, but a Twin Cities woman wants everyone to keep their receipts. She really needed hers, when she found herself wrongly accused of not paying for gas.With the way many people talk, you'd think the only crime where there's a real possibility of false accusation is rape. That perception is used to dismiss most accusations of rape and to avoid labeling many of those guilty of rape as real criminals.
If we were to use that sort of logic on this case, the clerk would be painted as the real criminal and we'd refuse to believe other reports of gas-station drive-offs. Not only that, this story could give criminals a method of getting away with their crimes by inspiring them to buy a small amount of gasoline legally, get a receipt, then fill the remainder of their gas tank and drive away without paying.
Who would believe that the same person who bought gas legally, stole gasoline?
If there's a videotape showing both the legal and illegal taking of gasoline, the thief could claim there was no intent to steal and that it's all just a misunderstanding. But how easily would a judge be swayed to see events as the thief desires?
External circumstances impact the number of gas-station drive-offs, but we don't use those external circumstances to excuse theft. Why in the world should we use external circumstances, or careful planning to help avoid prosecution, to excuse rapists?
When it comes to sexual contact, how easily would a judge or jury be swayed to see events as the rapist desires if the rapist began with a legal action? Too easily from what I've seen and heard.
Now imagine that a large enough number of gas thieves get a receipt for legal gas before stealing gas until police know they can no longer view receipts as absolute proof of innocence. Whose fault is that? The cops, the victims or the thieves attempting to manipulate the system?
In rape cases, too often it's the victims and victim's advocates who are blamed for making the justice system "hostile" to men's claims that they did nothing illegal.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual violence sexual assault