Sunday, December 04, 2005


As American women's rights continue to sink back toward the sixth century, we have a judge in Oregon prosecuting a gang-rape survivor for making "false accusations" because SHE DIDN'T ACT TRAUMATIZED ENOUGH.

Got that?

Sans weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth--there is no rape. Unless one behaves as the body politic believes one should behave after rape, there is no rape.

That's the fantasy, anyhow, the fantasy of die-hard "she-asked-for-it" rape denialists, who continue to take blame-the-victim-ism to new lows.


Teen never recants, and her lawyer says the verdict may stop others from reporting sex crimes

(via Shakespeare's Sister)

BEAVERTON -- A municipal judge found a 19-year-old woman guilty Friday of filing a false police report after she said she was raped by three young men.

Even though the woman never said she lied or recanted her story, city prosecutors say they took the unusual step of filing charges against her because of the seriousness of her accusations.

The woman's attorney and advocates for rape victims say the prosecution sets a dangerous precedent and could discourage others from reporting sexual assaults

"This will have a huge chilling effect on men and women across the board," said Erin Ellis, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Washington County. "We're sliding backwards."

After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman's friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.

[Judge Ackerman no doubt possesses clinical licensure with particular experience in post-traumatic stress disorder, as do the woman's 'friends'.]

The woman's lawyer, Jeff Napoli, said he plans to appeal the case to Washington County Circuit Court, where a new trial would be held.

The woman, who was 17 at the time of the April 30, 2004, incident, testified Friday that she was attacked by an 18-year-old boyfriend and his two friends. She said she was in the boyfriend's bedroom preparing to go to a party when she was sexually assaulted by the men.

The three men testified Thursday that the acts were consensual and at the girl's initiation.

The Oregonian is not publishing the names of the woman or the three men because the case remains unresolved and involves allegations of sexual assault.

The Washington County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute the case against the men. Robert Hermann, the county's district attorney, said prosecutors reviewed all the information and statements but didn't think they could prove a rape allegation.

It's easy to see why rape is an underreported crime, and why rape crisis counselors frequently advise clients not to pursue charges.

But this case is particularly egregious, depending, as it does, on clinical judgments being made by people who are not clinically trained--e.g., the judge, and the two 'friends.'

What are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder? Numbing/avoidance, autonomic hyperarousal (panic, anxiety, hypervigilance, rage, irritability, etc.), and intrusions (flashbacks/nightmares).


Initially, most sexual assault victims react with shock and disbelief. You may feel numb and dazed, withdrawn and distant from other people. You may want to forget about what happened and avoid people or situations that remind you of the assault.

The young woman's symptom, as described in this article, (and she may well have others) fall under the first category. Contrary to the judgment of the judge, her behavior was perfectly consistent with a post-traumatic reaction.

The judge rendered an opinion based on his own clearly erroneous understanding.

I hope the young woman sues the crap out of everyone she can.