The Law Should Not Call Accusers 'Victims'
Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) wants to do something that is so fair, so just, so moral, that it is astounding anyone would question it. He has has introduced a bill in the George state legislature that would change the state criminal code where it refers to rape accusers as "victims." Rep. Franklin's bill, which has raised objection from the usual crowd, wants to call such people -- are you ready for this? -- "accusers."
Heaven forbid that the law should call people what they really are!
Rep. Franklin "gets" it. By labeling an accuser the "victim" before a single scrap of evidence has been admitted at trial, much less an adjudication of guilt, the law implicitly accepts the rape allegation as factual. The message it sends does a grave disservice to the presumptively innocent who are accused of such crimes since, by necessity, they must be guilty if their accusers are, in fact, "victims."
This is a no-brainer. But not to the politicized zealots who dominate the public discourse of these issues. According to The Huffington Post: "The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee writes, 'To diminish a victim's ordeal by branding him/her an accuser essentially questions whether the crime committed against the victim is a crime at all. Robbery, assault, and fraud are all real crimes with real victims, the Republican asserts with this bill.'"
And that's not all the Huffington Post writes:
"Rape and sexual assault are chronically underreported crimes. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, '60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 6% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.' Under Franklin's definition, all of these people who didn't report their crimes aren't actually victims -- because there is never a conviction.
"'To be classified, off the bat, as an accuser instead of as a victim places one more barrier to reporting the crime to the authorities,' writes Amie Newman at RH Reality Check, who points out that Franklin's state of Georgia ranks 11th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for incidences of forcible rape.
"Jennifer White, attorney for legal programs at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, said that even when victims do come forward, prosecutions and convictions are still often incredibly difficult to get.
"'Changing, just for these particular crimes, the word 'victim' to 'accuser' really buys into an outdated and disproved myth about victims who come forward with these kinds of allegations,' said White. 'I think it's a sad reality that for some reason, it's easier for society, in some respects, to believe that a victim would fabricate this type of crime than to believe that a person is capable of committing certain atrocities. And it really has a chilling effect for victims who already have an extremely difficult time coming forward.'"
It is, of course, nothing short of morally grotesque to trivialize the suffering of the countless victims of false rape claims by insisting that false rape claims are "a myth." See here. Yet representatives of the sexual grievance industry say things like this without the slightest challenge from the mainstream media.
In any event, kudos to Rep. Bobby Franklin for trying to do the right thing.