I found this comment from reader enuma of interest, and thought I’d share it. The way rape trials play out will of course vary from place to place, but this idea that accused rapists are de facto considered guilty is ridiculous.
I’d like to believe that consent isn’t that difficult to grasp, but when I was a juror for a rape trial I watched a defense attorney come *thisclose* to convincing some of the jury that not trying to escape, and then giving up on an escape attempt from a rapist (because he raped her twice, and she tried to run away between first and second rapes) was the same thing as consenting.
I actually heard a woman say, “Maybe she thought if she just let him get it over with, he’d finally leave her alone,” as a reason we shouldn’t convict him. She understood that the victim didn’t want the sex to happen, and she understood that the defendant knew the victim didn’t want the sex to happen. She thought that a lack of struggle meant that it wasn’t a rape. And a couple of other jurors agreed with her!
Other jurors had to fight to convince those people that, no, just because the victim was too scared to try to run away, or try to run away again, did not mean she was consenting. And ultimately it was really the fact that he’d beat her up during her escape attempt that convinced them.
If the victim hadn’t made that escape attempt, and he hadn’t beat her up during it, I’m not sure what would have happened in that jury room.
Feel free to share if you have any stories of your own!