Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Jury Convinced By Expert Evidence On ‘Freeze Fright’ Experience In Rape Victims

Despite the fact evidence has been documented since the 1970s that the 'freeze fright' response is a common reaction many female victims experience when they are subjected to male sexual violence, mens' Male Supremacist legal systems has for decades denied the factual and documented evidence.

Now finally prosecution counsel in a rape trial held at a Canberra Court in Australia, successfully argued for an Expert Witness be allowed to inform jurors hearing a rape case, that nearly half of all female victims of male sexual violence, experience the 'freeze fright' reaction. This means it is common for females to become paralysed and unable to fight back or resist a male intent on subjecting them to rape and/or other forms of male violence.

The fact this expert witness was allowed to inform the jury is a precedent and one which should have occurred decades ago. However, as the author of this article succinctly states :

'As the majority of sexual assault trials involve female victims, this is symptomatic of the silencing of the female experience. The female voice, politically and in the public sphere, still often falls on deaf ears. The criminal court room is an institution which has long been guilty of excluding the female experience from its understanding of human behaviour. The "ordinary person" recognised by the law is often, in fact, an ordinary man. Yet the public consciousness plays a significant role also, as all sex crime trials in the ACT must be heard by a jury. If a woman’s experience does not accord with the general public consensus (in turn informed by a predominantly male perspective) it has often been dismissed or discounted.'

The fact men not women were the ones responsible for creating the Male Supremacist Legal System ensures that what supposedly constitutes 'reasonable standard' and 'ordinary person' are, as this writer states were and continue to be defined from the male perspective. This means mens' lived experiences are presumed to be the definitive human ones (sic) which neatly erases fact women's lived experiences are not symmetrical or identical to men's.

This is why the dominant view continues to be held that women are presumed to be existing in a 24/7 state of 'sexual consent' (meaning sexual availability) to males unless the woman/girl can prove by providing independent witnesses she did not 'consent/submit' to the male sexual predator's(s) demands!

Ms. Marson is correct in stating that a woman's creditability continues to be 'suspect' within our Male Supremacist Legal System. Womens' lived experiences of male violence continue to be 'suspect' unless and if an independent expert witness is allowed to inform the jury that factual evidence exists which gives credence to her lived experiences of male violence.

Men declare they are the holders of what constitutes definitive factual evidence and conveniently this concurs with mens' belief that they are entitled to have sexual access to any woman or girl whenever they wish because a woman's/girl's 'creditability' is defined solely by whether or not she adhered to male defined ideologies of appropriate 'feminine sexual moral behaviour.' Male defendant's(s) character and creditability is, according to Male Supremacist Legal System easily ascertained by their public respectability not their personal behaviour.



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