Thanks goes to Judith Michaelson for her article on “The Accused.” Applause for the reporter who accurately reports a story, allowing the message of those quoted to be heard, instead of her own.
Last Friday I was asked by a local TV station to be among the first to view the movie, to capture any reaction as a rape survivor. Unfortunately, 40 seconds is not adequate time to review a movie and express an opinion on such a terrifying and serious subject that touches so many lives and affects us all.
It is my sincere hope that those who see the movie receive its message--"No woman deserves or asks to be raped.” It is an impossibility to ask for your will to be taken. Although no person can comprehend the hurt and rage a rape victim feels until it happens to them, possibly a few will now see the act as one of violence, domination and control--not sex.
The truly unfortunate result of the movie and article is that it underplays the further victimization of victims at the hands of the legal system. The injustice of plea bargaining is a reality, but a second chance at justice is only a dream. Most rape cases never go to trial, even after the arrest of a rapist. And, of those rapes that are reported, the rapist rarely is arrested.
The movie only shows a slight idea of the humiliation that comes from telling the story over and over again. The movie’s victim was subject to 3 minutes of cross-examination, at most. I remained on the stand for over eight hours, during which time I was accused of stealing, conspiracy and many other crimes that the defense simply fabricated. I had to prove my innocence on all of these non-existent crimes because he kidnaped and raped me at gunpoint.
I’d like to challenge The Times to take another step forward in accurate and real reporting by printing, every day or every week, how many rapes were reported in San Diego County (multiply this number by 10 for how many really happened); how many rapists were arrested; the number released on bail; how many charges were dropped; the number of cases the district attorney decided not to prosecute and why; how many plea-bargained and for what charges; the number of convictions and acquittals.
Of course, to be fair to “the accused,” you might end with the statistic that less than 2% of these rapes are falsely reported--the same as any other crime. (I would also like to see the numbers of crimes that victims are falsely accused of without the protection of the Constitution to work for them.)
Do this for just one month, then ask the question, “Is justice done?”