WASHINGTON, October 8, 2012 — A woman accuses her one-time boyfriend of rape and animal torture/abuse. Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Maryland tell her that the courts typically do not hear such cases.
They explain that while “stranger” rape is typically prosecuted, rape by intimate partners is not. The Assistant State Attorney’s office also tells the victim that a trial would be very difficult, and she would be revictimized all over again.
“He grabbed my head and forced his penis into my mouth. Previously he had rammed his penis into my anus as I screamed in agony. After he repeatedly raped me, he commented that we had more sex that week than we had in a long time,” confesses Angela Lee who is seeking to have her alleged rapist prosecuted for second degree rape and sexual assault.
The alleged assault occurred on March 25, 2011. Criminal case number 3D00243694 was closed without a trial by the Assistant State Attorney’s office in Montgomery County Maryland on September 29, 2012.
The plea on file is listed as “Nolle Prosequi.” “Nolle Prosequi” is Latin for “unwilling to pursue, unwilling to prosecute.”
According to Lee, these are the reasons the State Attorney provided to her as to why the system is unwilling to seek prosecution:
1. A trial is very difficult; you would be revictimzed all over again.
2. It’s “he said she said.”
3. Typically, only stranger rapes are prosecuted.
4. The burden of proof is too high.
5. Twelve people could not be convinced.
None of these reasons speak to not having enough evidence to support the rape claim. There is evidence. There is a living and breathing victim willing to speak. Furthermore, claiming only stranger rapes are “typically” prosecuted is an insult to current and future victims/survivors of rape.
According to factsheets provided by The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s on the impact of sexual violence and what sexual violence is, people who commit sexual assault are not strangers to their victims. The assailant is often a friend, date, classmate, neighbor, coworker, or relative. Two-thirds of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and 38 percent of rapists are friends and/acquaintances of their victims.
It seems Maryland is not alone in its approach to defining prosecutable rape as stranger rape. RAINN, Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, reports that 97 percent of all rapists never spend a day in jail and only 54 percent of sexual assaults are reported to the police. After all, why would a rape victim take the chance of having the system revictimize them again by being told only stranger rapes are prosecutable and that they should just get over the injuries they have already suffered?
Lee and her supporters are not giving up. Caitlin Roper of Australia and a member of Change.org created a petition in hopes of persuading Maryland to seek the appropriate justice, prosecute the alleged rapist, and allow a jury of his peers to decide if he is in fact a rapist.
“Paul had no right to pretend not to be a rapist, “ Lee adds, “He had no right to earn my trust for three years. Women should not be punished for denying male [sexual] privilege.”
Good men in this society understand the role traditional male privilege plays in sexual violence and rape against women. Organizations like Men Can Stop Rape understand that traditional concepts associated with power and male masculinity cause harm to our society, especially to women and girls.
“Usually, we as a society assume that the burden of preventing rape, domestic violence, and dating violence largely falls on the shoulders of women and girls…In a healthy community, the well-being and safety of all its members is of central importance.” (source: mencanstoprape.org)
By not seeking prosecution of Lee’s alleged rapist, Maryland and states across the nation burden the victims and perpetuate unhealthy communities and societal conditions that allow sexual violence to continue. Not prosecuting Lee’s alleged rapist encourages sexual assault and allows rapists who are not strangers to their victims to convince themselves that sexual violence and rape is tolerated and not “really” a crime.
Violating anyone sexually is a crime and should be prosecuted. Sign the petition and ask Maryland prosecutors to make the right decision. The petition will be delivered to Douglas Gansler, Maryland Attorney General and Sherri Koch, Assistant State Attorney.
Change.org petition: Maryland Attorney General Put Angela’s Rapist on Trial
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