But to a large extent the victim is on trial

Claire Waxman, London’s victims’ commissioner, welcomed it as “encouraging progress.”

“For too long, evidence of trauma, such as inconsistencies in memory, has been misinterpreted as victims being unreliable and has wrongly influenced charging decisions,” she said.

“Sadly, I know that some victims can find themselves subject to disproportionate scrutiny, and are left feeling like they are the one on trial.”

This is about rape, of course. And to a large extent the evidence of the victim is the very thing that is on trial. The entire definition of whether a crime took place or not is “I didn’t consent” and “There was consent”. Not even that this particular person is guilty or should be tried, but that there was a crime at all depends upon that.

Which is, therefore, the thing that is often on trial.

6 thoughts on “But to a large extent the victim is on trial”

  1. What exactly is “disproportionate” scrutiny? Is this like Israel’s disproportionate use of force to defend itself from genocidal enemies?

  2. ’ For too long, evidence of trauma, such as inconsistencies in memory, has been misinterpreted as victims being unreliable…’

    Says the Victims spokesman, without a qualm, as yet another ‘historic abuse’ trial collapses (Lady Nource) when the evidence is put before a jury.

  3. Any judicial examination starts with a “finding of fact”, whether it be a criminal trial or a benefits application. How on earth do they expect to proceed without that stage?

  4. It is difficult to get a woman to understand something when her salary depends on her not understanding it.

    I read a lot of Upton Sinclair when I was young – his political ideas were silly but he was a pretty decent middlebrow writer. Which, if you are about fourteen, is what you want.

    Of highbrow writers only Shakespeare is good enough to appeal to a fourteen year old. Discuss.

  5. dearieme
    Huxley was pretty high brow and a 14 year old could read Brave New World for pleasure.
    Not sure if Shakespeare is highbrow. He wasn’t when alive.

  6. @ philip
    Pleasure is not how I would describe my reaction to it when I was fourteen (give or take a year, I can’t remember exactly when I read it). Less than 30 years after he wrote it I could see hints that some of his imagination could become real.
    I agree about Shakespeare: lots of bawdy jokes and “small Latin and less Greek” at a time when the high brows read Greek and Latin authors (excluding Aristophanes, of course).

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