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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148643 Find in a Library
Title: Continuing Barriers to Women's Credibility: A Feminist Perspective on the Proof Process
Journal: Criminal Law Forum  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(1993)  Pages:327-354
Author(s): K Mack
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 28
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article draws upon social-psychological research and task force reports on gender bias in the courtroom to argue that women witnesses lack credibility for many judges.
Abstract: The specific problem upon which the article focuses on the need for corroboration facing women who testify about rape. Harsh corroboration warnings, given by trial judges with the approval of appellate courts, are based on the same false beliefs about women's credibility that led in the past to mandatory warnings. The feminist perspective put forth here holds that the law's lack of belief in women's testimony is a direct manifestation of the overall problem of male dominance. In addition to societal barriers to women's credibility in the courtroom, common law has developed a set of rules specifically to attack the credibility of women testifying about sexual assault, including rules related to the expectation of a recent complaint, the relevance of sexual history, the requirement of force or other forms of resistance, and the need for corroboration. Reform must be pursued on several fronts: improving particular rules and passing legislation, addressing the gender-biased context in which substantive and procedural rules operate, and educating players in the legal system. 124 notes
Main Term(s): Victims of Crime
Index Term(s): Courts; Sex discrimination; Sexual assault victims; Witness credibility; Women's rights
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