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“Juries are extremely resistant.” Until now, it’s been impossible to know exactly how many of these cases collapse in court, because no prosecution data was being collected.
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.
But in cases of nonstranger rape — which represent three quarters of all rape cases in the United States — all that progress often comes screeching to a halt in the deliberation room.
“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.
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.Nonstranger rape is a distinct crime whose survivors exhibit equally distinct behaviors — the very actions the Marsalis defense used against his accusers.