24 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1013 (1990-1991)
When Will We Be Believed - Rape Myths and the Idea of a Fair Trial in Rape Prosecutions

handle is hein.journals/davlr24 and id is 1025 raw text is: When Will We Be Believed? Rape
Myths and the Idea of a Fair Trial in
Rape Prosecutions
Morrison Torrey*
As women, we live in the midst of a society that regards us as
contemptible. We are despised, as a gender class, as sluts and
liars. We are the victims of continuous, malevolent, and sanc-
tioned violence against us - against our bodies and our whole
lives. Our characters are defamed, as a gender class, so that no
individual woman has any credibility before the law or in society
at large. Our enemies - rapists and their defenders - not only
go unpunished; they remain influential arbiters of morality; they
have high and esteemed places in the society; they are priests,
lawyers, judges, lawmakers, politicians, doctors, artists, corpora-
tion executives, psychiatrists, and teachers.
-Andrea DworkinI
* Assistant Professor, DePaul University College of Law. Pauline Bart, a
sociologist who has done extensive research concerning rape, first brought
the issue of prompt complaint to my attention. At Pauline's urging, I
became familiar with the enormous amount of empirical research in the area
of rape myths and their power. The ideas for this Article evolved from a
combined legal and behavioral science perspective. I need to acknowledge
not only the able research assistance provided by Deborah Thornton, Brad
Ipema, and Renata Krawczyk, but also their thoughtful suggestions. Many
thanks go to the colleagues who kindly commented on an earlier draft:
Pauline Bart, Susan Bandes, Mary Becker, Mary Coombs, John Decker,
Judith Gaskell, Maria Hylton, Michael Jacobs, and Mark Weber. I also thank
the Dean's Faculty Research Fund of DePaul University College of Law for
supporting my work on this Article. Finally, I would like to thank Pauline
for the inspiration and courage she imparts to all of us who hope that,
someday, women will no longer be victimized and articles about rape will no
longer be necessary.
POLITIcs 42 (1976). [Editor's Note: At the Author's request, citations to
books and periodicals include authors' first names. The Author and many
other feminist legal scholars advocate this method of citation because it
eliminates some of the dehumanization in citation of authorities, rejects the
hierarchy that determines one form of writing (i.e., books) to be superior to
another (i.e., articles), and reveals the extent and depth of scholarship by


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