Observed in the midst of Jeff Fecke’s post at Alas, A Blog, which is otherwise mostly quite good, on media responses to the recent arrest of child rapist film director Roman Polanski:
Many, many articles cited the fact that the victim, now grown up and 45 years old, has said she wants the case to be let go, because each time it gets dredged up it brings up painful memories of her being raped. I choose the Telegraph because its headline puts the word victim in scare quotes, because‚?¶something:
In January, [the victim]1 filed a legal declaration in Los Angeles formally requesting that the outstanding charges against Polanski be withdrawn.
She said Los Angeles prosecutors‚?? insistence that Polanski must return to the United States before dismissal of the case could be considered as a ‚??cruel joke being played on me‚?Ě.
She also voiced anger that authorities had detailed her grand jury testimony in related hearings to the case.
‚??True as they may be, the continued publication of those details causes harm to me, my beloved husband, my three children and my mother,‚?Ě she said, adding that it was time for closure.
‚??I have survived, indeed prevailed, against whatever harm Mr Polanski may have caused me as a child,‚?Ě she said. Polanski had taken flight, she said, ‚??because the judicial system did not work.‚?Ě
I understand the victim‚??s feelings on this. And I sympathize, I do. But for good or ill, the justice system doesn‚??t work on behalf of victims; it works on behalf of justice. …
And that’s exactly why 90% of rapes still go unreported.
Because the government court systems which rape survivors are expected to go through, if they report the crimes committed against them, are deliberately unresponsive to women’s wishes, take control out of women’s hands, and do it all because they believe that there is some kind of
justice that can be gained independently of, or even in direct violation of, the wishes of the victim for safety and restitution for past wrongs. That, in the alleged interests of
society (which, typically, means the interests of the state, or, even more typically, the ambitions of the prosecutor), are willing to go on with the prosecution of a woman’s rape, whether or not she wants them to, and even if she publicly states that the government’s prosecution is proceeding against her will, out of her control, and it will hurt her for it to continue.
justice system doesn’t work on behalf of victims, the
justice system is an asshole.