The Rape of Mr. Smith The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner that would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following situation, a lawyer asks questions of a hold-up survivor.
"Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main?"
"Did you struggle with the robber?"
"He was armed."
"Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than resist?"
"Did you scream? Cry out?"
"No, I was afraid."
"I see. Have you ever been held up before?"
"Have you ever given money away?"
"Yes, of course."
"And you did so willingly?"
"What are you getting at?"
"Well, let's put it like this, Mr. Smith. You've given away money in the past. In fact, you have quite a reputation for giving your money to charity. How can we be sure that you weren't trying to have your money taken from you by force?"
"Listen, if I wanted -"
"Never mind. What time did this hold-up take place, Mr. Smith?"
"About 11:00 p.m."
"You were out on the streets at 11:00 p.m.? Doing what?"
"Just walking? You know that it's dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren't you aware that you could have been held up?"
"I hadn't thought about it."
"What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?"
"Let's see... a suit. Yes, a suit."
"An expensive suit?"
"Well - yes. I'm a successful lawyer, you know."
"In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn't that so? I mean, if we didn't know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to happen, mightn't we?"
From "The Legal Bias Against Rape Victims (The Rape of Mr. Smith)" by Siobhan Morrissey. American Bar Association Journal. April 1975. Reprinted by permission of the ABA Journal.