|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
U.S. House Republicans have received a great deal of attention over the past week since seeking to qualify the crime of rape with the term “forcible” in a high-profile piece of legislation. Such a distinction could create classes of rape victims, with “forcible rape” victims somehow being ordained as worse off than victims of statutory rape, date rape, rape by coercion or deception, rape of the disabled or mentally impaired… You get the picture.
But what if rape victims could no longer be referred to as “victims” at all? What if people who have endured this horrible – and already chronically underreported -- crime could only be called “accusers”?
Georgia Republican state Rep. Bobby Franklin (of gold-standard-wannabe fame) has introduced a bill to change the state’s criminal codes so that in “criminal law and criminal procedure” (read: in court), victims of rape, stalking, and family violence could only be referred to as “accusers” until the defendant has been convicted.
Burglary victims are still victims. Assault victims are still victims. Fraud victims are still victims. But if you have the misfortune to suffer a rape, or if you are beaten by a domestic partner, or if you are stalked, Rep. Franklin doesn’t think you’ve been victimized. He says you’re an accuser until the courts have determined otherwise.
To diminish a victim’s ordeal by branding him/her an accuser essentially questions whether the crime committed against the victim is a crime at all. Robbery, assault, and fraud are all real crimes with real victims, the Republican asserts with this bill.