Friday, March 20, 2009

If Rape Victims Are Only Witnesses Then Murder Victims Are Only Forensic Evidence

From a comment on Larvatus Prodeo written by a man calling himself Desipis:

The sole role a rape victim has in a rape trial is to serve as a witness. The only “fair go” they deserve is the same “fair go” a witness in any other trial deserves. The way I read such comments as this and like the one I quoted @11 is that the court has some obligation to punish the accused because it will somehow help the victim. I read that as vengeance.

This view of rape victims as uninvolved witnesses, who can be otherwise ignored by the criminal justice system, is a handy one for someone to hold when that person wants to excuse or provide backhanded support for massive procedural and ethical failures in the criminal justice system which harms rape victims and benefits rapists.

In my post from last year, What Fuels Rape Denial, part 1, 2 separate commenters reported dismissive treatment by investigators which caused one rape victim to finally give up in her attempt to report rape and which caused another to listen as an investigator dismissed evidence of an admitted rape because the admitted rapist "didn't really mean it."

None of those investigators were serving justice. If the criminal justice system should not be accountable to rape victims then it should not be accountable to any crime victim or any citizen who has not be charged with a crime.

The criminal justice system and defense attorneys certainly don't treat rape victims as mere witnesses. Many times they are treated as suspects minus the legal rights given to those actually charged with a crime. When a guilty rapist is acquitted for whatever reason that person's rape victim is often declared guilty and that person's constitutional right to be presumed innocent is ignored.

This injustice is aided by assigning vengeance as the motive for reporting rape even when the report is accurate.

To be consistent, Desipis must believe that murder victims are nothing more than forensic evidence and they deserve nothing more than any other piece of evidence. Focusing on trying to solve cold-case unsolved murders would then be nothing more than an effort at vengeance.

A family who won't stop pushing to have the murder of their son solved would likely not be dismissed by Desipis as people consumed by vengeance.

Under this restrictive view promoted by Desipis the criminal justice system has no obligation to accused rapists other than to see that their legal rights are respected. That means the criminal justice system as Desipis envisions it has no obligation to prevent wrongful convictions. As long as the correct procedures are followed that's all that matters. Desipis' logic tells us so. If the innocent defendant had the same fair go as other defendants that's all the criminal justice owes that defendant even though he is innocent.

To say otherwise is to prove that Desipis' entire premise is unsound.

The reality is that rape convictions and filing a police report related to rape are rarely about vengeance. What this assigned motive does is automatically turn rape victims into people who have no interest in justice and who are automatically suspect without any actual evidence to support this claim. Doing this does not serve justice in any way.

Rape convictions are about accountability and public safety.

Since most rapists target girls and women, Desipis may feel safe no matter how many rapists get away with their crimes and how few of them are convicted and sentenced in line with the crimes they committed.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:08 AM   2 comments links to this post


At March 20, 2009 12:43 PM, Blogger Marj aka Thriver said...

Thanks for submitting this for The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I'm firming up a date with another host in April.

See ya Monday! :)

At April 17, 2009 4:09 PM, Blogger Patricia Singleton said...

How sad and disgusting that people like Desipis really believe this way.


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