Fighting Rape Culture With Noncorroboration Instructions
32 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2019
Date Written: 2017
For centuries, the criminal justice system has erected barriers to the successful prosecution of sexual violence. Today, many of the formal obstacles to prosecution have been abolished, but their effects linger. Rape myths weigh heavily on jurors, often manifesting in a rape culture that is unwilling to convict defendants of sexual violence unless victim testimony is corroborated by independent physical evidence. Yet empirical social science overwhelmingly finds that most sexual assaults do not involve eyewitnesses or result in corroborating physical injuries. One way to combat mistaken stereotypes about sexual abuse is through “noncorroboration instructions” that explain to jurors that they can return a guilty verdict if they believe the victim’s testimony beyond a reasonable doubt, even without corroborating evidence.
Keywords: sex crimes, rape myths, jury instructions, corroboration, rape
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation