Prosecutor to Victim: ‘You Can’t Have Been Raped While Wearing Spanx’, Drops Her Case
A prosecutor told a rape victim that she could not have been raped because of the underwear she was wearing before dropping her case.
The woman, who has asked for her name to be withheld, says she was in a relationship with a man but he got aggressive toward her as the night wore on. After they argued outside of her house, he followed her inside and raped her.
When she tried to press charges, she received a letter from a prosecutor saying “I have taken into account all of the surrounding circumstances, including the exchange of text messages between you before and after the incident.
“I have also considered your account of the incident, particularly bearing in mind the type of underwear you had on at the time.”
The woman says “I was wearing Spanx control pants. I don’t know what he was thinking.”
Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, worries that British prosecutors are avoiding trying rape cases because they are more difficult to win and lower their conviction rates.
Saunders says “we have certainly seen some indication that cases which we thought should have gone through didn’t go through. There is a best practice out there. It’s just that not everyone is doing it.”
Marianne Hester, a professor of gender and violence at Bristol University, says “most cases do not end up in court, and this is not because the rape did not happen but because the police may not be vigorous enough in pursuing evidence, or because victims may be deemed too fragile to cope in the court setting or because they are seen as the ‘wrong’ kind of victim if they have been raped before.”
Mary Mason, the director of Solace Woman’s Aid, says “we will not see convictions improve significantly and consistently until there is a change to the institutional mindset which blames the victim for being raped.”