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... Rape Shield law and Wendy Murphy

Mark Charalambous, July 25, 2003

Published:
"Rape Shield law can corrupt justice" MetroWest Daily News Aug. 1, 2003
www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/columnists/colcharalambous08012003.htm
"Rape shield law and feminist jurisprudence ultimately corrupt justice Sentinel & Enterprise Aug. 2, 2003

Rape Shield Law and Feminist Jurisprudence Corrupt Justice

I suspect more than a few Americans are baffled by how Kobe Bryant's accuser can retain her privacy while he is exposed to public humiliation and career-threatening consequences, whether or not he is ultimately acquitted. The "rape shield" law that protects his accuser is an example of the plethora of laws and policies, loosely characterized as examples of "feminist jurisprudence," that have corrupted the administration of justice in our civil and criminal courts under the guise of protecting women.


Rape may or may not be the most underreported crime as feminists assert, but it is undoubtedly the most falsely accused of crimes, and has been since time immemorial.

Clearly, one of the parties is lying. Those with limited life experience may buy into the politically correct party line that women rarely or seldom lie about matters as serious as rape, domestic violence or child abuse. But let's get real. Women do indeed falsify rape allegations, especially when there is a financial incentive, such as when the horny, hapless fool is a wealthy celebrity. Rape may or may not be the most underreported crime as feminists assert, but it is undoubtedly the most falsely accused of crimes, and has been since time immemorial.

Kobe is justifiably paying a steep personal price within the confines of his marriage and family for his marital infidelity. But if he is innocent of sexual assault, he has already suffered tremendous injustice. Convicted or not, sports experts say his potential for income from endorsements and such will take a serious, if not catastrophic, hit. Regardless of the outcome, when all is calculated his financial cost will be reckoned in the millions of dollars.

And yet the accuser, who is not a minor (19 years of age), stands to lose – if Kobe is found not guilty ...what? Her reputation in the community where she lives? No one else knows who she is. This will most likely have an ephemeral affect on her life, unless of course she is telling the truth and is able to compel a backdoor settlement from Kobe.


Rape crisis centers are now in the news again complaining about their budgets.  But if the public knew what kind of "crisis" calls these places actually deal with on a day-to-day basis, support for them would soon evaporate.

While it is certainly premature to speculate about Kobe's guilt or innocence, we do know that the unnamed accuser is alleging rape and that Kobe is claiming consensual sex. However, the presumption of innocence didn't prevent victim's advocate and MSNBC legal expert Wendy Murphy from describing the accuser as an actual "rape victim" – and thus implicitly naming Kobe a rapist – on national television on the day the charges were filed.

Such is the acceptance of feminist jurisprudence that such an indefensibly biased statement – by a lawyer and former district attorney no less! – goes by with scarcely a raised eyebrow by Dan Abrams, the host of MSNBC's "The Abrams Report." Whether it's Clara Harris, Andrea Yates, or Kobe Bryant, for feminists like Wendy Murphy and Gloria Allred it always reduces to one thing: man bad, woman good. Having Murphy as a resident legal expert on gender issues is like putting a neo-Nazi on a panel for race-related news topics.

On the same program, Murphy also bewailed the supposed lack of concern for the victim by the media at the press conference held earlier in the day. "They were all concerned for what this is doing to Kobe," she claimed. However, several of the reporters did indeed ask questions concerning the victim – whom, don't forget, is anonymous.

But no reporter asked the question I was waiting for: Since Kobe is claiming innocence, then his accuser must be lying; therefore, will he pursue justice in some form of punishment for her when he is cleared? That this question wasn't raised speaks volumes about the real nature of perceptions and prejudices in rape cases.


Wendy Murphy wants to deny men accused of gender crimes the ability to adequately defend themselves, regardless of what the Constitution says and common sense recommends. For feminists like her and Allred, the prevalence of rape can never be over-exaggerated, the legal definition of the crime too broad, nor the burden of proof too low.

Clearly, a large part of the problem stems from how the legal definition of rape has expanded beyond the universally understood meaning of the word: a male using force or threat of force to have sex with a woman.

Several years ago, Murphy represented a rape crisis center here in Massachusetts that was refusing to turn over a phone log that included the record of a call by an alleged rape victim. The trial judge had ordered the center to turn over the records because they were necessary for the accused rapist to defend himself, and was fining the center $100 each day that they failed to comply.

Rape crisis centers are now in the news again complaining about their budgets. But if the public knew what kind of "crisis" calls these places actually deal with on a day-to-day basis, support for them would soon evaporate.

Wendy Murphy wants to deny men accused of gender crimes the ability to adequately defend themselves, regardless of what the Constitution says and common sense recommends. For feminists like her and Allred, the prevalence of rape can never be over-exaggerated, the legal definition of the crime too broad, nor the burden of proof too low. For them, the end justifies the means. Rape shield law serves a Higher Purpose.

Whenever law is drafted that short-circuits due process for some perceived greater good – watch out! Mischief and mayhem are sure to follow. Rape Shield laws are blatantly unfair, but the ultimate responsibility for them lies at the feet of men who failed to resist the feminist legal onslaught in the political sphere. If Kobe is innocent, perhaps this case will raise public awareness and eventually lead to the restoration of fundamental fairness and justice consistent with Constitutional protections of due process.

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Mark Charalambous, a resident of Leominster, MA, is a founder of, and the Spokesman for, CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition. He is an instructor in the Massachusetts state college system.


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