Sunday, March 16, 2008

What Causes Taint To Stick After Rape Allegations?

Allison Hope Weiner at the HuffPo has a copy of the 31 minute recording made in 2001 by private investigator Anthony Pellicano, who is on trial in Federal court for racketeering and wiretapping, of a phone conversation Pellicano had with Chris Rock.

The conversation relates to allegations by a woman who Rock acknowledges knowing and acknowledges having sex with. Her first allegation was related to paternity and when it was proven that Rock was not the father, she made a police report alleging rape.

AP: We're going to get her one way or the other...

CR: Rape is just fucking, buzz, you know?... Once you're accused of rape, you're just F[***]ED, you know?
AP: That's why i want to blacken this girl up, totally. I want to make her out to be a lying, scumbag, manipulative cocksucker... Stupid bitch

What Chris Rock doesn't realize and what Anthony Pellicano likely doesn't care about is that this strategy is one of the key reasons a rape accusation can leave a taint on the person accused that just won't go away.

If Rock had admitted guilt to the rape charges, either directly or indirectly, I believe Pellicano's suggested course of action would have been exactly same.

Comedian Gary Shandling testified in Pellicano's federal trial that he was subjected to a smear campaign after Pellicano was hired by a Paramount Pictures executive and an entertainment attorney. That means this suggested course of action by Pellicano given to Rock looks to be business as usual -- maybe even his greatest asset to potential clients -- and not something done in a desperate last ditch attempt to help clear the name of a falsely accused man as many defenders of this practice like to spin it.

This scorched earth strategy is objectively meaningless to those who understand how this strategy works and who recognize when this strategy is in play. Yet when this smear campaign is used in rape cases against rape victims many people shrug this off with lame excuses for unethical practices ("a man's life is at stake") and with no care about whether those behind the smear campaign crossed the line into illegal behavior. To these people rape victims become nothing more than collateral damage. One man's desired outcome is all that matters.

That is the same mindset which is needed for a man to become a rapist. Only what he wants matters and the harm caused in the process of getting what he wants is of no importance.

Whenever I see this strategy in play in rape trials, I'm left with the impression that the evidence of guilt is so overwhelming that only slander of an alleged victim's entire life has a chance of obscuring that evidence. This isn't the belief the truly innocent want, but the guilty won't care what I think as long as this strategy allows them to escape justice.

Those who support smear campaigns against alleged rape victims will often extend the range of their scorched earth assault. Whenever someone claims I'm a man-hater, that person has completely undermined the credibility of everything they say about sexual violence and about any case.

If they then go on to praise someone else, they are actually creating a negative impression of that person -- not a positive one. If that person is someone wrongly accused of rape, the aggressive defender becomes an aggressive underminer of the wrongly accused.

These aggressive defenders are the ones who leave a taint on all those who have been accused of rape but who are innocent of those charges. But for most people it is easier to blame feminism or those who speak out against the injustices done to victims of sexual violence.

The reality is that Pellicano has left a taint on Chris Rock that the original allegation did not.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:15 AM   0 comments links to this post


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