Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Double-standard of a different kind

An interesting take on rape trials, via Ampersand, who notes that plenty of legal cases pit one person's word against another, but that we only question that basis when the crime in question is sexual.
So why doesn't anyone say that drug possession is a unique crime because a person can go be sent to prison for drug possession, based solely on another person's word? Why does no one say "drug dealing is a serious charge; it is easy to make, difficult to defend"? Why does no one fret about the damage to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" when someone goes to prison for selling drugs based on someone else's word?

I don't think there's a principled reason that the process of a jury hearing testimony and weighing credibility - which is routinely accepted in thousands of non-rape cases - becomes so suspicious and deplorable when the crime is rape. Rather, I think the difference is just evidence that our culture trusts cops but doesn't trust women.
Hard to disagree. There is plenty of evidence of bad policing, but in general we trust that they are on the opposite side from the bad guy; apparently we don't think that women can be trusted to say for themselves which side of the line they were on. femsign(Yeah, there are such things as shame and regret, but there's also a quick tendency in our culture to blame women for not living lives of constant self-protection, and thus to discount their rights to control their own bodies in social situations. Thus, how can their accounts be given full weight? Feh.)

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