Is There Such A Thing As A “Credible” Rape Victim?
1 year ago
In 2011, money and power drowns out the voice of rape victims
In the last few weeks we've learned a number of valuable lessons. Among them:
1. Apparently if you are poor, you should not expect to be taken seriously if you accuse someone who is not poor, of sexually assaulting you (or trying to).
2. Similarly, if you are powerless, you should not expect to be taken seriously if you accuse someone who is powerful, of sexually assaulting you.
3. If you are intoxicated—at all—you should not expect the judicial system to take you seriously if you accuse someone of sexually assaulting you.
4. If you are worried that you are in a vulnerable state—intoxicated or otherwise—and therefore worried that you could find yourself in danger (of sexual assault or other bodily harm), don’t call the police.
5. If you do call the police, and they take advantage of you, don’t expect the judicial system to take your complaint seriously. (See numbers 1 through 4).
We should thank the two former New York City police officers who were supposed to be coming to the aid of an intoxicated woman, but instead admitted to “cuddling” with her in bed (but not “assaulting” her), for teaching us these valuable lessons. We should also thank the jurors who acquitted them of the most serious charges they faced, stemming from that night. And lastly, we can thank the defenders of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for driving these points home through their endless efforts to trash—and when that didn’t seem to work— allegedly buy off his accuser and her family.
The treatment of both of these women—in one case, by the legal system and in both cases, by the media wild west of cyberspace— begs the question: Is there such a thing as a credible rape victim? Does she exist? Is there any woman on the planet whose word, reputation and behavior is considered beyond reproach enough that she can accuse someone in power of assaulting her and have a real shot at being taken seriously? Or should we just save ourselves some time and just make a rule right now, that only wealthy, tee-totaling nuns should be allowed to make sexual assault claims? Meaning the rest of us, should we find ourselves in harm’s way, are just out of luck?