Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ask The Experts

Well this is exactly why expert witnesses are needed in rape cases. Grinning orange twat Micheal Flatley has been accused of rape. His defence is built around the notion that the woman had a "relaxed and happy" breakfast with him the morning after the alleged incident. Any half decent expert - someone with experience at a crisis helpline or rape crisis medical centre - would tell you that it's very common for rape victims to act "normal" immediately after the incident.

There are two reasons why this would happen. Firstly the victim having been aggressively raped may fear further physical attack, or other repercussions - losing their job, being blackmailed or discredited by malicious rumours if they allow their rapist to know that they intend to report the crime. They may also blame themself for the rape, it's not just men in our society who can believe that women bear some responsibility for their own rape, so they may be ashamed and not want people to know about the incident. Secondly, the victim may be in denial. Having willingly gone out with, home with and trusted someone who turns out to be a rapist, they try to convince themselves that the incident didn't happen and reassure themselves that they were right to have trusted the guy and that they do have a good relationship.

Having stayed for breakfast is no defense against rape. I'm pretty appalled the BBC would report it as though it were. Maybe we need rape experts not just in courts but also in journalists offices.

He was cleared of the charges and has now won a case awarding him $11m in damages from his accuser. Surely since no-one was in the room with the pair at the time of the alleged incident, while we cannot say with 100% certainty that he did rape her, we also cannot say with 100% certainty that he didn't. I can understand a decision saying there's not enough evidence to convict him, I can't see how she can be prosecuted for bringing the case. And what message does this send to other rape victims wondering whether or not to bring a case against their attacker?

10 comments:

Susan said...

Ah, but Kate, don't you realize that all of us USonian women are lying little gold-diggers who think nothing of subjecting ourselves to the degradation of trials merely for the sake of a possible pay-off? Heck, even if the guy's not rich, we're such scheming cows that we've been known to file criminal charges against a guy just because we regretted it!

Cruella said...

That may be. And maybe men in the US (or in this case Ireland) are cunningly raping women in the hope of luring them into court, so they can take them to town for defamation...

Paul said...

Extortion is a crime, isn't it?

Paul said...

I mean -

Take someone to court, have them found guilty, receive damages is the way to do it.
Don't threaten to take someone to court *unless they give you money*, because if your case is then dismissed you will rightly be found guilty of extortion.
This is pretty watertight. Just because there is an emotive subject underlying it does not make it wrong.
If her case was dismissed because she acted normally over breakfast I agree that's a travesty of justice. Nonetheless she should have gotten the orange twat convicted before demanding money or saying things in public that libel lawyers can use.

Cruella said...

Yeah. If you can show me where in my article it says that it isn't I might not put you on my "trolls" list.

Incidentally rape is also a crime.

Paul said...

When you ask "I can't see how she can be prosecuted for bringing the case" I'm respond by saying she wasn't. She was prosecuted, succeessfully, for extortion.

It's like the recent Saudi woman who, having been brutally gang raped, was subsequently convicted of being in the same car as an unrelated male. It utterly beggars belief - and it makes my blood boil that our Foreign Office turn a blind eye to such outrages by the Saudis (and others). However, it's not right to say she was sent to prison for being raped; she was sent to prison for something else. Likewise this woman wasn't forced to pay damages for being raped, or for bringing a civil case against Orange Twat. To say she was is simply wrong. She was convicted of extortion.
This is not pedantry, or trolling, this is how the judicial system works.

I read your blog nearly every day, Kate. It forces me to think and it often challenges my prejudices for the better. You receive such a lot of 'Me too' posts I didn't think you would object to fair criticism. Sorry.

Susan said...

"That may be. And maybe men in the US (or in this case Ireland) are cunningly raping women in the hope of luring them into court, so they can take them to town for defamation..."

I'm sure Irish people everywhere would want me to point out that Flatley is American and that this all transpired here in the US.

Not that the Irish aren't perfectly capable of treating rape victims like dirt.

Now, having just re-read the article you cite to re-check my original notion that this was all in the realm of USonian justice, I will say that I think Paul has a valid point. The article you cite makes no mention of criminal charges ever being brought against Flatley. Doesn't mean she wasn't raped, but it doesn't take a misogynist to think it doesn't look too good if her first (and from what we know) only response was to threaten.

Cruella said...

Well firstly - she did bring a court case against him. The extortion is supposedly from "threatening to bring a court case". Which I just don't think is a threat. Giving him the option of settling out of court before bringing the case, is pretty normal proceedure. Now also the charge against her is "extortion and defamation", the latter is purely for alleging that he raped her.

But I do accept I had assumed Flatley was dual nationality at least - he has a big house in Ireland and obviously plays up his Irish ancestry pretty hard.

There is more info here.

http://www.showbizireland.com/news/september03/19-flatley33.shtml

Paul said...

Thanks to the web, the entire court ruling of Flatley v. Mauro, 04 C.D.O.S. 8152 is available online:

http://www.casp.net/flatley.html

Her lawyers spent several months calling the Orange Twat's lawyers threatening to "go public" with the allegations, to "ruin" Flatley and demanding $1 million for their silence. Once Orange Twat's lawyers realised that amounted to extortion, they countersued and Robertson quietly dropped her case soon after. Unfortunately, they had already overstepped the mark.

Perhaps the most pertinent extract from the ruling are the words of Justice Turner:

"The problem is that Mr. Mauro (Robertson's lawyer) went further than threatening to file a lawsuit and then disseminate the information about the complaint to journalists, Rather, in addition to the threatened lawsuit and media exposure, Mr. Mauro threatened criminal prosecution or publication of defamatory matter about the rape as a means of obtaining leverage in the proposed civil action if 'seven figures' was not paid."

That'll be $11 million, please.

I wonder how much Orange Twat had to pay his lawyers.

Cruella said...

Pretty amazing stuff there. We can see exactly how little the courts understand about rape cases. We hear that Ms Robertson kissed Flatley, took her clothes off, had breakfast, said shed like to see him again, etc. It never mentions whether she consented to the sex they had.