Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1332125
 


 



A Witness to Justice


Jessica M. Silbey


Suffolk University Law School

January 23, 2009

STUDIES IN LAW, POLITICS AND SOCIETY: A SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM ISSUE ON LAW AND FILM, Austin Sarat, ed., Vol. 46, pp. 61-91, 2009
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-07

Abstract:     
In the 1988 film The Accused, a young woman named Sarah Tobias is gang raped on a pinball machine by three men while a crowded bar watches. The rapists cut a deal with the prosecutor. Sarah's outrage at the deal convinces the assistant district attorney to prosecute members of the crowd that cheered on and encouraged the rape. This film shows how Sarah Tobias, a woman with little means and less experience, intuits that according to the law rape victims are incredible witnesses to their own victimization. The film goes on to critique what the right kind of witness would be. This article explains how the film The Accused is therefore about the relationship between witnessing and testimony, between seeing and the representation of that which was seen. The article elaborates the relationship between the power and responsibility of being a witness in law - one who sees and credibly attests to the truth of her vision - as well as it unpacks the significance of bearing witness to film - what can we know from watching movies.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: law and film, law and humanities, evidence, rape, criminal law, law and literature, evidence, jurisprudence, witness, testimony

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Date posted: January 23, 2009 ; Last revised: February 2, 2009

Suggested Citation

Silbey, Jessica M., A Witness to Justice (January 23, 2009). STUDIES IN LAW, POLITICS AND SOCIETY: A SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM ISSUE ON LAW AND FILM, Austin Sarat, ed., Vol. 46, pp. 61-91, 2009; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-07. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1332125

Contact Information

Jessica M. Silbey (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
617 305 6270 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.suffolk.edu/law/faculty/22481.php?InstructorID=819&Name=Jessica%20Silbey

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