Political Correctness And Rape Victims

When political correctness gets so out-of-hand that a woman who has been raped can’t say the word “rape” at her assailant’s rape trial, people need to stand up and say that’s unacceptable,

It’s the only way Tory Bowen knows to honestly describe what happened to her.

She was raped.

But a judge prohibited her from uttering the word “rape” in front of a jury. The term “sexual assault” also was taboo, and Bowen could not refer to herself as a victim or use the word “assailant” to describe the man who allegedly raped her.

The defendant’s presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial trumps Bowen’s right of free speech, said the Lincoln, Neb., judge who issued the order.

“It shouldn’t be up to a judge to tell me whether or not I was raped,” Bowen said. “I should be able to tell the jury in my own words what happened to me.”

Bowen’s case is part of what some prosecutors and victim advocates see as a national trend in sexual assault cases.

“It’s a topic that’s coming up more and more,” said Joshua Marquis, an Oregon prosecutor and a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association. “You’re moving away from what a criminal trial is really about.”

In Jackson County, Senior Judge Gene Martin recently issued a similar order for the trial of a Kansas City man charged with raping a teenager in 2000. Despite the semantic restrictions, the Jackson County jury last week found Ray Slaughter guilty of forcible rape and two counts of forcible sodomy.

Whether this guy is innocent or guilty is a matter for the jury to decide. But, they should be able to hear both sides of the case and her side of the case is that she was raped. We’re not talking about pre-schoolers here; we’re talking about adults who are going to be making a decision about whether or not a man will be going to jail (Personally, I’d support the death penalty in rape cases, but that’s another post) and if there is anybody on that jury who can’t handle hearing the word “rape” without it causing his judgment to run wildly askew, then he doesn’t belong on a jury any way.

Moreover, although we don’t know the facts here, let’s assume for a moment that Tory Bowen was raped. How offensive is it that she isn’t even being allowed to say what was done to her in front of a jury that will be deciding the fate of her rapist? Justice is a two way street and, yes, the victims, not just the criminals, should have some rights, too — and to tell a woman who was raped that she can’t even point out her accuser and say “He raped me,” is an affront to those rights.

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