Two Points for More Responsible Rape Prosecutions

Bill Kuhl sent in some commentary on a recent report by the CBS Evening News: "Last night's broadcast of the CBS Evening News contained a segment on the law's handling of testimony by frontline health professionals in rape trials, especially "he said/she said" cases where the outcome hinges on whether the sex was consensual or not. The report stated that in three separate Virginia rape trials, testimony by sexual assault nurses who had treated the women alleging rape was thrown out..." Click on Read More to view the rest of his comments.The judge in each case stated that the nurse's testimony had gone past the point of simply reporting what she knew; the judges determined that the nurses had, essentially, drawn conclusions. In fact, one of the nurses concluded that, by having read Masters and Johnson's "Human Sexual Response," she was able to distinguish whether the sexual activity between the woman and the alleged rapist was consensual or not. From court documents, the reporter explained that the nurse believed that if there was damage to the woman's body then the sex must have been nonconsensual and if there were no damage then the rape was consensual. The judge agreed with the defense which held that consent cannot be determined by physical examination alone. It was also pointed out in the segment that, by and large, the group of sexual assault nurses shown in the background
attending a legal workshop agreed that, as witnesses, they should "stick
to the facts." One of the nurses even stated that a nurse giving
testimony could not say if the sex was consensual or not "unless she was
standing in the room" at the time of the act. The news piece also noted
that the importance of testimony by frontline sexual assault nurses in
"he said/she said" rape trials is paramount; their testimony usually
weighs in heavily in such cases. The entire segment came off as being as
responsible as the decisions of the three judges. Sources were cited
throughout, defendants were referred to as "alleged" perpetrators, and
the nurse who claimed to be able to determine consent from an examination alone was offered time to give her side of the story; however, she declined.


NOTICE: This story was migrated from the old software that used to run Unfortunately, user comments did not get included in the migration. However, you may view a copy of the original story, with comments, at the following link:

Like0 Dislike0