The Accused Essay

1383 words - 6 pages

The AccusedThe accused is a movie about Sarah Tobias, a woman of questionable character, who is gang raped in a bar by three men, while others looked on and cheered. Outraged by the plea bargain made by the prosecuting attorney, Sarah is appalled. In an effort to right this wrong her attorney, Kathryn Murphy, brings the onlookers to court for soliciting the crime, thus restoring Sarah as the victim, and putting the rape on record. In the end the onlookers were found guilty and Sarah is vindicated.From the beginning you could see the prosecuting attorney tearing holes in the allegations being made. Sarah was drunk, she smoked some grass, she had a prior record, she went to the bar alone dressed in a sexy manner, and her license plate read "Sexy Sadie". Kathryn had no doubt a rape occurred at least technically, but saw her client as a, "sitting duck", and a horrible witness. In her eyes there was huge doubt that a jury would convict. Based on this, she was told to cut a deal; she plea-bargained the case down to reckless endangerment, which carried two to five years.This scenario was described perfectly in the article, "Discrediting Victims' Allegations of Sexual Assault: Prosecutorial accounts of case rejection." Only cases characterized as "solid" or "convictable" are filed. As we saw in the movie, prosecutors are actively looking for holes or problems that will make the victim's version unbelievable, hence unconvictable (212). The motto when in doubt reject, or as the movie showed, make a deal, but don't take it to court.Sarah's behavior at the bar was considered by many to have contributed to the crime. In essence she was also to blame. In a study by Kalven and Ziesel, it was shown that jurors would go to great lengths to be lenient with defendants if there is any suggestion of contributing factors. This is just another reason a case may be rejected or plead down. To explain this reasoning the article, "Is it Rape", sets up the scenario of a bar room fight. Police in order to find fault would ask, who started it? If a woman comes onto a man, didn't her own actions precipitate the offense? Such behavior might include: agreed to drinks, rides, dates, or if the victim failed to react strongly enough to sexual suggestions and overtures such as kissing or dancing with the accused.In the movie the men that watched, not only did they clap and cheer, but they ensured the rape continued. If one hesitated, they were called "fagot", the peer pressure and the need to protect their manliness fostered the rape scenario. When gang rape was looked into on campuses, researchers found that there was almost always a leader, who pushed others into the crime. This is made easier by men who believe they are expected to live up to socialized norms of manliness. Such socialization norms for men include sexual entitlement and superiority over women. Society sees empathy as girliness, and a sign of weakness. If a woman is too friendly, men perceive her behavior as...

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