Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another special rule to make reporting rape easier

Another barrier is removed to reporting rape, see here. It is the trend on college campuses not to sanction underage drinking if it is discovered in connection with a sexual assault complaint. This rule does not apply to any other criminal complaint. So, for example, if a young man reports that his wallet was stolen while he was underage drinking, he will be sanctioned for underage drinking.

Double standards are the rule for sexual assault in order to make reporting as easy as possible. Among the special laws and policies unique to rape that have been implemented to make reporting rapes easier than ever, perhaps as easy as it can possibly be, are that rape accusers are afforded: anonymity; extensive counseling paid for by tax and tuition monies; heightened sensitivity when being interviewed by police; exemption from taking polygraphs; the ability to have rape kits preserved for years at taxpayer expense while they mull over whether to press charges against a man or boy; and special evidentiary rules at trial to jack up convictions.

This is not to suggest that these double standards are inappropriate (although in our zeal to encourage rape accusers to come forward, we have forgotten about the presumed innocent -- they, too, need certain protections that the law and our social policies do not afford them, such as anonymity until conviction).

But one must wonder when we will cease hearing that rapes are underreported because reporting is so difficult.