By Dark Politricks
The Dominique Strauss-Kahn case shows us once again why the legal rules around rape cases are unfair to men.
Having been someone who was dragged out of my house during my teenage years by a mob of policeman at 6am with my mum slapping me shouting “how could you” because a girl who had run away from home had fantasied in her diary about me and my friends gang raping her – I know what is is like to be falsely accused of a horrific crime.
Luckily for me the girl whose diary cauaed the problem returned home and explained the gang rape she had fantasied about in such vivid detail was all false and we were let go but only after the best part of a day in jail, DNA tests, interviews and a month on Police Bail waiting for police line ups.
The problem with rape is it has a very low conviction rate which is why proponents of women’s rights want the accused names put forward at an earlier opportunity so that potential other witnesses can come forward.
If the person has a history of sexual abuse or rape then maybe they might bring forward other witnesses that could help the victim in the current case.
However the other side of the coin is that the lives of men accused of this horrendous crime are literally ruined by having their name published before being convicted.
In the UK we have a rule in which the woman’s identity is protected until the trial is over but the accused’s name is released as soon as he is charged. This is unfair and it leads to a trial by media which we have recently seen with the accusation (now dropped) of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Trial by media is a horible thing to see and especially worse to experience if you are on the receiving side of it and the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn shows this.
Every little historical sexual detail is brought up and used against the “perpetrator” to convict them in the court of public media before they even reach a court. Past indiscretions are relived, ex girlfriends tell stories about the one time you were drunk and went too far at a party or the times you made inappropriate comments to people you had just met. All tittle tattle but stuff that hit piece articles are made from.
If they are acquitted or found not guilty then the damage has already been done to the person accused and many people will look at them as if they were a convicted rapist of the first degree even though they were found not guilty. As in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case in which the judge recently threw out the case on the prosecutions advice claiming that:
“that they could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt because of serious credibility issues with the hotel housekeeper who had accused Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her as she entered his suite to clean it.”
The case for expanding the UK anonymity rules so that both accused and accuser have total anonymity until conviction in my mind is logical and fair for both sides.
At the moment there is a small but significant amount of cases where spiteful ex girlfriends aim to hurt their ex or wives are caught out having one night stands and shout rape to cover up their own misdeeds. Even though these people who are clearly the wrongdoers are able to remain anonymous their totally innocent victims have their private life trawled through by the public in local and national newspapers.
People who falsely accuse people of rape should be given the same punishment as those convicted of the crime and this should help to solve the problem of false accusations which although are small in comparison are very real (as I know) and are problematic enough to ruin numerous lives and many promising careers.
If the accuser is allowed anonymity then the same latitude should be granted to the accused. The court of public opinion is the worst of all places to hold such a serious trial and by taking out this large gossip mongering, rumour mill there is more chance of a fair trial when the case does eventually reach a court as jurors minds haven’t been corrupted by biased news stories.
Even though Dominique Strauss-Kahn has had all criminal charges dropped at the request of the prosecutor there still looms over him the prospect of a civil case in which the standard burden of proof is much lower and convictions are mush easier to obtain.
Not only has this person lost their well paid powerful job at the IMF, they have spent time in jail – probably beaten and maybe much worse – and they have basically had all hope of a future job in the public sphere ruined at the very least. He certainly won’t be running for French President any time soon.
Basically his life is over because his name was made public before any conviction in a court of law. The only court that convicted him was the court of public opinion and we all know how wrong that court often is.
Luckily Dominique Strauss-Kahn is rich enough to survive without a job for a while so he won’t be pan handling anytime soon but this is very good example of why we should expand the British legal system and make both parties to a potential rape case anonymous until a jury has had their say.
Rape is a serious crime, it should be treated as such. Allowing gossipers and rumours to spread in the absence of fact and evidence is the quickest way to blacken an innocent man’s name.