Petition jurors in rape trials to complete compulsory training about rape myths(21 Posts)
Please sign if you agree that all jurors in rape trials should complete compulsory training about rape myths.
I'd imagine it's things like the belief that a woman would scratch and bite and fight instead of freeze. Or that if you were flirting with someone earlier in the evening that it follows that you couldn't possibly have not wanted to have sex with him. Or the belief that women get paid huge amounts of cash compensation for being rape victims.
It sounds like a good idea to me.
I agree with the principle but think it'd be better coming from the judge or rules around what evidence can be presented in court.
Training jurors would be difficult as when you're called up you don't know if you'll be on a case or nor or what that case will be. When selected you're then instantly on it. So hard to see when the training would take place. Could also potentially be seen as influencing the jury. Once selected you can't speak to anyone else about the case.
training could be a short 10min video or a factsheet that is read out to jurors befor the trial.
Having sat on a domestic violence case as a juror I agree with kadabras. Guidance does need to be given but I don't believe training jurors in advance is feasible or would make any real difference to entrenched views. Especially as (ime of the domestic violence case) DV myths formed a big part of the defence.
I have signed but like Albedo my comment comes from having done jury service too.
A lot of weight placed on what the judge says and direction given.
I think if the training says one thing then the evidence presented in court is another I'm not sure how that'd work. You're directed to go by only what you hear in the court room.
Hope that makes sense. I have signed anyway as hope it brings up debate on how to deal with this issue.
I too agree with the principle of the importance of busting rape myths.
However I too have sat on a jury twice. My second time was a domestic attempted murder charge. Every case must be taken on its evidence and the judge is very severe in delivering his directions to how you must treat it.
For me, not only do you have no knowledge of the case whatsoever until you are sworn in - you're not even sure you'll be chosen for service until that morning, even though you're there. I can't see where the training would happen.
I do agree with the sentiment. BUT, you can't do training in 10 minutes. The idea is unthought out and potentially dangerous.
You can't change opinions or a mindset in a 10 minute presentation.
A badly thought out presentation could actually backfire and result in some jurors going on to a case in defiant mood - "not going to be told what to think'
It could lead to rape survivors being exposed to reactive and unthought out reactions that are hurtful.
When you train in sensitive subjects like violence against women, child abuse etc you have to look after the audience. You must always assume that some may have had similar experiences and find it 'triggering' etc. You don't stick people in front of a video and think 'job done'.
Being on a jury can be a dreadful experience when it's rape, murder, DV etc. And there IS an issue about how we support people in these cases
I really wish it was as simple as 'here's a video about rape myths, now believe it, get on and hear the case'. But changing views in a democratic society is just not like that. I wish it was
Once a case gets to court, rape convictions are around 60%, which is actually quite high.
I don't think the problem is jurors attitudes (though certainly it is always good to educate people).
The problem is with all the cases which don't get reported at all or which don't get to court. Actually, the problem is with attitudes to women in our society, so this education should be part of the national curriculum, and should also be somehow forced on the adult population. Maybe it could be part of the process to get a driving licence, a passport, and a marriage licence.
It is a good idea but actually the judicial system has already done far more than most people realise to try to address these issues. I've not done general criminal practice for a few years now but as far as I recall, the standard directions judges are expected to give whilst summing up includes referring to the fact that the lack of evidence of any "fighting back" from the complainant should not be used as grounds for acquittal. See the following link - www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/JCO/Documents/eLetters/Bench+Book+Companion_revised+complete+march+2012.pdf
Nevertheless there is clearly some merit to tackling these issues at the start of the trial rather than the end so that the jurors are hopefully not still labouring under those misapprehensions at the time when they hear the actual evidence.
I think it would be more effective to tackle the practice of lawyers leveraging rape myths against victims in terms of what they say to juries. Something like the rape shield law but much stronger.
This is important and necessary. Here's why: the American author Linda Fairstein was New York's first specifically dedicated sex offences prosecutor. She describes a case she tried in which an older male juror wanted to aquit because he had never heard of people having sex standing up. The victim had been raped in a lift and had described her ordeal, he decided she was lying because he wasn't aware the scenario she had described was even physically possible. Any information given to juries to rebut commonly held myths is a good thing.
Here here! That's EXACTLY why jurors need the training on rape myths!
From personal experience I know that an educated jury is important. CPS would not proceed with my case based on my actions post rape not being what a jury would deem a 'proper victim'. They could not have faith that all twelve could understand my actions were linked to the trauma. I.e. I didn't report it away and had message contact with perpetrator
Although convictions are at about 60%, this is 26% below that of all other crimes! Thus the conviction rate is actually really very low. The lowest of all crimes. Research shows that rape myth attitudes are a strong influence on this.
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