Rape on tape

Judge threatens to jail accuser for refusing to watch video of her own alleged assault.

By Lynn Harris
March 1, 2006 10:47PM (UTC)
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Via Feministing and about 23,410 Broadsheet readers:

According to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, the victim of an alleged gang rape has been threatened with jail for contempt of court. Why? Because she has refused to view, as part of the trial, a videotape of the incident.


There has been debate, of course, over whether the sex was consensual. (Oddly, though, there seems to be no debate over whether at least some of the sex took place while the young woman was unconscious.) A lawyer for one of the four men charged in relation to the incident has argued that he thinks the young woman's answers to questions while viewing the videotape would "strongly help" his client's case.

He also added that "one-night stands happen all the time, and in the morning you regret it." The tape evidently shows the victim unconscious as people spit on her and write derogatory words on her naked legs with laundry markers.

As one Broadsheet reader said in her e-mail: "I can't even make it through a fictional rape scene in a movie! Talk about the legal system 'raping' you all over again."


(Also, is it just me, or does this remind you, at least broadly, of the woman in Oregon who was charged with filing a false report even though she never recanted?)

I'm no lawyer, I don't know what happened that night, and of course I believe the accused deserves a fair trial. But wow. WOW. Isn't there some other way?

Scott Lemieux and BlackFeminism have additional interesting commentary, and of course Shakespeare's Sister is all over it. If you're outraged and want to pipe up, see Deanna at AlterNet for the court's contact info.

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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