Sunday, December 14, 2014

Perspectives on Disclosing Rape Victims' Names By Deborah Denno

The recent issue of shielding or revealing the names of  abuse victims - raised a number of questions. What in fact are the halachic, legal and moral perspectives. What if the court doesn't believe her story? Is there a difference if her name is known in the community already? The following article which was published in the Fordham Law Review - reviews the issues and states the law regarding rape victims as of 1993 in America. Apparently the law is much stricter elsewhere e.g., England and India. I could not find any sources dealing with victims of abuse which doesn't involve rape.  To download the article use this link or search with Google
Helen Boyle in  Rape and the Media: Victim's Rights to Anonymity and Effects of Technology on the Standard of Rape Coverage', European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2012 wrote:
In the UK, victims of rape or serious sexual assault have unequivocal anonymity and protection from media intrusion under section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992. This is a statutory exception under Art 10(2) which allows for derogations on the basis of protecting the rights and freedoms of others. This means the names of victims of rape or sexual assault cannot be reported by the media. In the United States, no equivalent law exists; victims of sexual assault rely on a 'conspiracy of silence' in the media to protect their privacy according to Denno. [13] This is based on the media's recognition that rape is more 'personal, traumatic, and stigmatizing than most crimes' [Denno, p1113, 1992]. If the media decide to break this rule of silence the courts will defend their right to do so. The US Supreme Court, to date, has always protected the media's right to release the name of a victim of sexual assault under the First Amendment.  [...]

1 comment :

  1. "A" raped "B". "A" is put on trial. "A" is acquitted. Let's examine this from the point of view of protecting the public. It seems to me, no purpose is served by identifying "B" to the public in this case. "B" is not likely to falsely accuse someone else, because she "falsely" accused "A". In other words, a jury that acquits "A", even with a judge at sentencing who rebukes "B" for lying, does not make "B" a lier.

    Now, let's start with a different case. "A" did not rape "B". "A" is put on trial, and acquitted. Revealing "A"'s name is in the public's interest. "A" is a danger to society.

    But how is anyone to determine the difference between these cases? It seems to me that acquittal alone is a poor indication of "B"'s veracity.

    I think the best thing for the public is to leave things in "A"'s hands. If he wants to clear his name, and along the way protect the rest of us, he should file criminal charges against "B".

    There are cases where "B" may be not sure who committed the rape, but is subpoenaed by the prosecutor. The prosecutor is making a case based on DNA and other circumstantial evidence, on other witnesses, as well as on "B"'s important, but incomplete, supplementary testimony. It seems unlikely that "A" would bring any charges against "B" if he is acquitted. I don't think the public's interest is served here, either, by revealing "A"'s name.


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