Thursday, 13 June 2013

Rape Victim Falsely Accused of Making False Accusations

Finally went back on Twitter and found an article by s.e. smith on a rape victim who was intimidated into recanting her claims and then was found out to have been raped after all. This woman was accused of fabricating her rape because hr story was "inconsistent". I've seen the exact opposite in literature on false accusations of sexual assault, where multiple victims allegedly collaborated in creating a consistent story. Similarly, in a few murder cases I've read about, the witnesses' or suspects' stories changed so much that no single story could really be believed without further evidence, yet the judge simply chose the most interesting story to base their verdicct on.

Of course, in rape and sexual assault cases, there are usually no witnesses other than the victim, and technical evidence may be lacking in some cases as well, especially if the victim didn't report hte crime right away. However, even though contrary to what s.e. says, it is not the police's job to be on the victim's side, it is their job to take every allegation of crime seriously.

In the Netherlands, there are protocols on how police should handle allegations of sexual assault. These require the police to warn the alleged victim of the fact that making false claims is a crime. In certain cases, the victim needs to be assessed by a team of specialists. This is so in cases of allejged ritual abuse, recovered memories of sexual abuse, or sexual abuse prior to age three (if the victim is the accuser). These teams are often biased towards not believing in these instances of sexual abuse. At least, W.A. Wagenaar, a great author and legal psychologist whose literature I'm basing this off, is.

I know that it is hard to collect evidence of sexual assault, and that suspects have rights too. However, this is exactly why nothing in the alleged victim's story alone can be seen as clear cut evidence of false claims. When no evidence is available other than the victim's testimony, this sadly means no suspect can be tried. When other evidence is available but being ignored, or the police fails to look for it at all, this means a perpatrator gets away with something horrible they could've been brought to justice for. This happened in the case of D.M. and a shocking number of others. It is about time police do their job correctly at least.

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