Monday, January 30, 2012

Rape victims' champion: 'Let us not forget that those falsely accused are also real victims'

Rikki Klieman is a  former Massachusetts sex crimes prosecutor, a member of the board of the Rape Treatment Center in Los Angeles, and a fierce champion of rape victims. Unlike so many shrill, extremist voices in the blogosphere, Ms. Klieman understands the balance we always talk about here -- about the need to punish rapists while insuring the innocent aren't punished with them.  Serious voices on rape appreciate the balance -- see here

You need to read the entire article here, but she ends with this:

"Let us not forget that those falsely accused are also real victims. They are forever painted by some with a label of 'rapist,' whether the case is dismissed or they are acquitted. I am still haunted by the memory of defending a therapist accused of date rape at a party years ago. There is no question in my mind that the act was consensual. She pursued him vigorously and he rebuffed her attention before she made her complaint. What other course might the case have taken had he sent her flowers or taken her on another date? The specter of the publicity in his professional life and the stress surrounding the progress of the case contributed to his suicide. He is not alone in taking such a desperate step.

"All of society loses when there is a false accusation. Somehow we must encourage real victims to feel safe to report rape knowing that police and prosecutors will have the courage to turn away those who bear false witness. Society itself can become the victim. We don’t want guilty people on the street who will offend again. We want to safeguard the most vulnerable among us. We want to champion those violated. We want to protect the falsely accused."