“And keep in mind, the cases that come through the prosecutor’s door are the strongest ones — strong enough for the police to have referred them along in the first place,” notes EVAW International research director Kimberly Lonsway, Ph. Back in the 1970s, most reported rapes were committed by strangers; those cases are now in the minority.
Yet juries — and many judges as well — still think of rape as being only between strangers, says Lynn Hecht Schafran, director of the National Judicial Education Program of Legal Momentum, a woman’s advocacy group in New York City.
“You hate to tell people that we have such terrible success with these cases at trial, because it makes victims think, Well then, why press charges?
” says retired police sergeant Joanne Archambault, president and training director of Sexual Assault Training and Investigations, also in Addy, Washington, a firm that educates law enforcement about rape.
“To a juror, a rapist is a guy who jumps out of the bushes and throws a woman to the ground,” Schafran explains.
“She has terrible injuries, and she leaps up and reports it immediately to the police.
“Cases where a victim knows her assailant are still extraordinarily hard to win,” says Jennifer Long, director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women in Alexandria, Virginia.They would be 10 educated, professional women versus a demonstrated liar — a man who had pretended to be a doctor, a CIA employee, even an astronaut — whom a court-appointed psychologist would decide met the legal definition of a “sexually violent predator.” And yet the most remarkable thing about both trials wasn’t the way they exposed the alleged tactics of a serial date rapist.It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn’t enough to get a single rape conviction against him.It doesn’t fit with most people’s misguided concept of rape, for example, that Marsalis’s accusers went out with him willingly — thinking him a worldly doctor, the embodiment of Mr.Right — and were initially enjoying their evening with him.