Monday, September 15, 2014

Rape Victim Denied Justice Because of Her Looks?

Today on Twitter I saw a post from my friend Vogter2100.  The video linked to a facebook video of a young woman who is upset that the case against her rapist was dropped.  Below is the video hosted on Facebook.

Currently none of the tutorials on embedding facebook videos work, or at least I can't figure it out. As everyone knows I do NOT have a facebook account and thus have almost no knowledge of how the site works. If anyone can figure it out let me know and I will fix the embed code. In the meantime here is the URL to the video.

Now the purpose of this blog is to raise an eyebrow or two about her claim that the State Prosecutor has dropped the case against her rapist due to her appearance.  She gives no evidence to this claim.  However, the majority of comments on her facebook page appear to take her story at face value.  
Let me preface this article by stating that I do believe she was raped.  I am not dismissing her accusation.
As she tells it she agreed to go to a male friends house to hang out.  He then forced himself on to her.  Even if she led him on or cockteased him, the moment she says no, it is time to stop.  Consent can be revoked at any time, and if you press on then this is rape, clear and simple.  She then either called him or he called her and she recorded the conversation and got him to confess to raping her.  While I doubt he actually apologized for rape and used those exact words, she apparently did get him to apologize for not stopping when she asked him to.  
That is easy enough to believe as he would not suspect that he was being recorded.  I do however have to call bullwinkle on her claim that she got him to sign a piece of paper confessing to the rape.  There is no way, any man would admit to that on paper.  If he was that guilty he would have marched into the police station and turned himself in.  Rather, he was arrested the next day after she turned this evidence over to the police.
Two weeks later the state prosecutor informs her that they are dropping the case because it is too complicated.  In other words, they don't have enough evidence to get a conviction.  She then interprets this as they don't want to work with a lady who has tattoos and facial piercings and it is all about her appearance, not about how they can't secure a conviction.  
Let's look at the facts.  First there is no way any man would ever write the words, "I'm sorry for raping you." on a piece of paper.  Whatever he did put to paper, it is obvious he got a lawyer who was able to suppress that.  I suggest watching Law and Order SVU or any of the Law and Order series.  It isn't like Perry Mason where they win all the time.  Half of the time they loose and the reason is reasonable doubt.  They have to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.
As far as the audio recording, it can't be admitted as evidence in a court of law due to how it was obtained. Florida is only one of a few states that have two party consent laws for recording phone conversations. Unless the prosecutor can demonstrate the accused knew of and consented to the recording it is of no legal use.  Here is the link to Florida's rules on recording phone calls.  
In most cases the testimony from the victim is all that is necessary to convict someone of rape.  However, police routinely fail to follow through on rape cases.  Now on this I have my own ideas.  Such as the all too frequent false rape accusation.  These cases hurt not only the men affected but also the men and women who actually were raped.  It is the story of the boy who cried wolf.  In many cases of sexual assault it is sadly up to the victim to keep the pressure on to ensure charges are brought and a conviction is secured.  Rape victims often lack the emotional stability to stay the course.  This leads to my other theory as to why so many cases are dropped.  Testimony in open court is required and the accused has the legal right to face his or her accuser.  
I'm reminded of a TV show called the Practice.  In Season 2 episode The Civil Right we see defense attorney Eugene Young struggle with his ethics as he meets a rape victim he destroyed in open court and caused his client's acquittal.  While this show is fictional, it does showcase the very real trauma of a rape victim being a mere few feet away from her rapist while lawyers pick at any holes in her story.
In short, we may never know why the prosecutor declined to continue the case.  It could be their lack of faith in the victims ability to go to trial, lack of physical evidence (such as a rape kit, defensive injuries on the attacker as she fought back, lack of other witnesses, ect.)  However I refuse to believe that they told her it was her appearance.  
FYI this is her rapist.
Photo lifted from her Facebook