Monday, April 18, 2005

The Rape of Mr. Smith

note: in case it wasn't clear, this is supposed to parody what women are put through at rape trials. Many believe we should feel free to question them about their past sexual activity and what kinds of clothing they were wearing. This is an example from a play (thanks, anon!) turned on its head, applying this standard to a man, victim of another sort of violent crime, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is.

Investigator: Mr. Smith, you allege to have been help up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main.
Mr. Smith: Yes.
Investigator: Did you see a gun?
Mr. Smith: No.
Investigator: So, you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than resist?
Mr. Smith: Yes.
Investigator: Did you scream? Cry out?
Mr. Smith: No.
Investigator: In other words, you didn’t try to get help for yourself.
Mr. Smith: I was afraid to.
Investigator: I see. Have you ever been held up before?
Mr. Smith: No.
Investigator: Have you ever given money away?
Mr. Smith: Yes, of course.
Investigator: And you did so willingly?
Mr. Smith: What are you getting at?
Investigator: Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given money away in the past. In fact, you have quite a reputation for your generosity. How can we be sure that you weren’t planning on having your money taken by force?
Mr. Smith: Listen, if I wanted…
Investigator: Never mind. What time did this hold up take place?
Mr. Smith: About 11:00 p.m.
Investigator: You were out on the street at 11:00 p.m.? Doing what?
Mr. Smith: Just walking.
Investigator: Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?
Mr. Smith: I hadn’t thought about it.
Investigator: What were you wearing?
Mr. Smith: Let’s see - a suit. Yes, a suit.
Investigator: An expensive suit?
Mr. Smith: Well, yes. I’m a successful lawyer, you know.
Investigator: In other words Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?

via auroraluna


Anonymous said...

That's a copy/adaptation of a short FICTIONAL play that was written called "I Dream Before I Take the Stand" which does the same thing but w/ a woman and a rape case

Jennifer said...

yeah. I realized it was fictional :-) I didn't realize it was based off of a play, though. I figured it was just parodying how women are usually treated in rape cases. Though that does make me want to read the play, now that I've looked it up.

I just think it illustrates an important point about how we treat
women in rape cases. It seems perfectly ok to question women about their sex lives or their clothing or why they were out at night, but applying those questions to men just points out the absurdity and irrelevance of it.

Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the suit: (note: im a guy lol)

It's more productive for a criminal to target someone in a shiny expensive suit over casual clothes...

Jennifer said...

hey anon,

thanks for commenting.

and, sure, it is totally more productive. but does that mean that the guy wearing the shiny expensive suit was asking to be targeted? (as many claim women wearing provocative clothes are "asking" to be raped)