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Supreme Court Discusses Date Rape


On February 18, 1992, The Supreme Court for New York County, New York, discussed the application of punitive damages in civil suits against criminally convicted perpetrators would be appropriate in rape cases. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the case in question granted $10,000,000.00 in damages to the victim of a sexual assault in 1988. Her attacker was charged and convicted of rape, sodomy, and sexual abuse. The victim subsequently filed a civil suit to recover damages. The victim was a fashion model who relied on her unblemished physical beauty for her source of income. During the course of the rape, her attacker had slashed her with a knife. The slashing made it impossible for her to continue gainful employment as a model.

The 1991 amendment to the Civil Rights Law § 50-b demands that all victims of sex offenses regardless of their age be protected from having their identities disclosed to the public. The reason that rape victims identities require protection from disclosure is associated with the societal stigma that is placed on victims of sexual assault in general. This is especially true in the case of date rape. Date rape which is sometimes called acquaintance rape, is the most common form of rape in this country. Most cases of date rape go unreported. Prior to 1974, a rape victim had to have corroboration in the form of an eye witness or physical evidence to substantiate her claim of rape. That created an atmosphere of danger for any woman who was alone with a man. The court recognizes that date rape is a crime so old that it is recorded in the bible. For many years, if a woman willingly went to a man’s apartment or bedroom, the general opinion was that she knew that she would be expected to have sex with that man. If she then told him that she did not want to have sex with him and he forced her to have sex, society had the view that she had asked for it. She was considered to have known what she was getting into when she agreed to be alone with a man in an area that “good” girls did not go.

In 1988, mainly as a result of a book about it, date rape was put into the spot light. Many women reported during a comprehensive study to have suffered from forced sexual intercourse by dates. In fact, a staggering 20% of college students reported in 1985 that a date had forced them to have sexual intercourse against their will at least once. Many women did not even call forced sex on a date, rape. The FBI estimated that in 1988 60 to 80% of the women who were raped, were raped while on a date with their attacker. It was not until 1991, when the Violence Against Women Act was proposed that these issues were brought to the forefront of criticism in American public view. These proposed laws would make federal penalties available for rape prosecutions and require mandatory restitution to the victims.

In 1976, there was a government funded advertising program issued to educate men and women that when a woman says no to sex that it means that she does not want to have sex. A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said it educated both men and women that if a woman says no, that the man can be charged with raping her if he continues. There are many people who believe that there was a massive shift in societal norms associated with this campaign. It was a common belief of the time that a woman was expected to resist a man’s initial advances in order to prove that she was a good girl and that he was so masculine that he had charmed her past her objections. Changing that perception of the woman’s statement of no to sex took a good deal of time. However, it was effective in making sure that young men especially became aware that if they press a woman for sexual intercourse after she has expressed an objection, then he is a rapist.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates a criminal lawyer, is available in convenient offices located throughout New York and the Metropolitan area to respond to your call. Our New York Sex Crimes Attorneys can provide you with good advice in a trying situation.

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