ERIC Number: ED230997
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: N/A
Naming the Rape Victim.
Since state laws prohibiting identification of rape victims were struck down in a 1975 United States Supreme Court ruling, the media have been reconsidering their traditional policy of preserving victims' anonymity. Explaining their decision to begin naming victims in rape trials, several newspapers cite the press's responsibility to provide the public with fair, impartial coverage of everything newsworthy. Maintaining anonymity, they state, implies an unqualified acceptance of the witness's testimony. Those opposed to disclosure, however, believe that the rights of the victim outweigh the public's right to know. Describing the harassment that often follows identification, they suggest that while anonymity prevents humiliating publicity and encourages the reporting of crime, it neither implies the accused's guilt nor increases the number of false reports of assault. While both sides express concern over the stigma associated with being raped, they continue to discuss whether anonymity can harm the victim by perpetuating this stigma. The controversy over naming rape victims is part of a larger debate on the nature of the press's responsibility to the public and the individual. (MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.