State v. Smith Perpetuates Rape Myths and Should Be Formally Disavowed
102 Iowa L. Rev. Online 185 (2017)
20 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 23, 2017
In 1993, the Iowa Court of Appeals decided State v. Smith and reversed a jury’s verdict finding a man guilty of sexually abusing his stepdaughters. In a divided and published decision, the Court of Appeals substituted its judgment for the trial jury because it did not believe aspects of the girls’ trial testimony. The foundation of Smith is based on what we today call rape myths or expressions of rape culture. The Smith opinion cannot be reconciled with a modern understanding of child-sex-abuse dynamics and this Essay argues Smith should be explicitly overruled.
Keywords: rape, sexual assault, jury instruction, rape myth
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