Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

An Unbelievable Story of Rape by @MarshallProj

An unbelievable story of rape is an examination of the reality of "false rape allegations" in the US context. This is what "false allegations" look like: a litany of police failures leading to a n 18 year old victim, who spent her life in the foster care system, being labeled a liar and charged with filing a false police report. It is the story police officers in multiple jurisdictions failing to do their job: refusing to believe a victim, refusing to investigate, refusing to list the reported rapes on the FBI's national database, and failing to check the database to see if there were crimes involving the same perpetrator despite the fact that rape has one of the highest recidivism rates of any crime.

The reality is a serial rapist was allowed to rape numerous women because police officers did not do their jobs. We have zero sympathy for officers who refused to work with police officers in other jurisdictions and refused to use the national database because they wanted to solve the crime themselves. The criminal justice system is no place for people who put their ego above the safety of women and children. We're disgusted that none of the officers who failed the rape victims in this case received any disciplinary measures - from those who decided a vulnerable 18 year old was a liar and charged her to those who failed to list their cases on the national database and those who refused to check for similar crimes. How many rapists are walking free because of these systemic police failures?

We would also like to the see the operators of a website set up to harass and intimidate the 18 year old victim be charged with these crimes. This isn't free speech. It is a criminal act.

You can read the full article at the Marshall Project.

No one came to court with her that day, except her public defender.

She was 18 years old, charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Rarely do misdemeanors draw notice. Her case was one of 4,859 filed in 2008 in Lynnwood Municipal Court, a place where the judge says the goal is “to correct behavior — to make Lynnwood a better, safer, healthier place to live, work, shop and visit.”

But her misdemeanor had made the news, and made her an object of curiosity or, worse, scorn. It had cost her the newfound independence she was savoring after a life in foster homes. It had cost her sense of worth. Each ring of the phone seemed to announce another friendship, lost. A friend from 10th grade called to ask: How could you lie about something like that? Marie — that’s her middle name, Marie — didn’t say anything. She just listened, then hung up. Even her foster parents now doubted her. She doubted herself, wondering if there was something in her that needed to be fixed. ...

You can read the full article at the Marshall Project.


Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism and writing about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

UPDATE: This article has since won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting

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