I gave the same speech [“The Rape Atrocity and the Boy Next Door”, published in the 1976 collection Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics] at a small community college. At the reception after, the host pulled me aside. She had been gang-raped some fifteen years before. The rapists were about to be released from prison. She was in terror. One key element in their convictions was that they had taken photographs of the rape. The prosecutor was able to use the photographs to show the jury the brutal fact of the rape.
Some eight years later a founder of one of the early rape crisis centres told me that she and her colleagues were seeing increasing numbers of rapes that were photographed; the photography was part of the rape. The photographs themselves no longer proved that a rape had taken place. For the rapists, they intensified pleasure during the rape and after they were tokens, happy reminders; but the perception of what the photograph meant had changed. No matter how violent the rape, the photograph of it seemed to be proof of the victim’s complicity to increasing numbers of jurors.
The rules of evidence shamelessly favor the accused rapist(s) and destroy the dignity of the rape victim. The rape victim is still suspect – this is a prejudice against women as deep as any antiblack prejudice. She lied, she lied, she lied: women lie. The bite marks on her back show that she liked rough sex, not that a sexual predator had chewed up her back. That she went with her school chum to Central Park and her death – she was strangled with her bra – proved that she liked rough sex. One woman was tortured and raped by her husband; he was so arrogant that he videotaped a half hour, including his use of a knife on her breasts. The jury, which had eight women on it, acquitted – they thought that he needed help. He. Needed. Help.
Andrea Dworkin, “One Woman”
In Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant