There is no bigger agenda for JAGs and the service branches other than stopping sexual assaults in the military. It is certainly a noble objective and one receiving considerable press. All of the attention and special treatment received by alleged victims of sexual assaults will encourage and entice the most repugnant, dishonest and selfish to make false rape allegations for their own personal gain.
Finding Lies in False Rape Allegations
Sexual assault cases are almost always he-said-she-said type cases. There aren’t any witnesses other than the alleged victim and the accused. To complicate the issue even further, often times, the accused asserts his rights to remain silent or gets caught in minor lies because of fear. In any case, it is quickly becoming commonplace for prosecutors, media, and the public to assume the alleged victim’s story is true. So how do you combat against the lying victim?
The most important strategy is investigation all of the details. Did you know I almost never see the prosecutors or cops recover text messages that would be valuable for the defense?! In one case, the Prosecutors had no idea the alleged victim had repeatedly sent provocative pictures to the accused Airman. It was only after she lied under oath that she and the Prosecutors were shown the pictures. Needless to say, that case and two other rape cases against the accused by friends of the lying victim were dismissed.
Text messages are just one example of how the defense goes on the offense. Most military sexual assault cases start with alcohol and end with an alleged victim claiming she had too much to consent. What we used to call drunk-sex, is now being prosecuted as aggravated sexual assault throughout the military. So, how do you go on the offensive? Evidence she wasn’t as drunk as she says is key. Other drunk friends are usually where the cops and prosecutors turn, but they are the worst witnesses. The details are more important. Was she walking up and down stairs? Using her cell phone? Walking in high-heels? These details are so often overlooked, but the answer to any one may result in almost immediate dismissal or acquittal.
Why Rape Victims Lie
Finding out why a rape victim lies is far more nuanced and subtle than most think. I employ forensic psychologists in almost every sexual assault case I work on. They are experts in understanding why alleged victims lie. Some forensic studies show that up to 40% or more rape cases are actually fabricated. But that doesn’t tell us why. The obvious and most frequent answer surrounds around a victim wanting attention or personal gain. This can often be the case, especially in the military where an alleged victim wants to PCS or hide a sexual relationship from a deployed boyfriend or husband.
However, there is a completely different type of false allegation… the alleged victim that believes she’s not lying. Let me explain. She wakes up and realizes she had sex with the accused the night before. She can’t remember any details after 11PM. She is in another relationship and hates when people think she’s slutty. She calls one friend, and the train starts to roll… She talks to more friends, the SARC, doctors, nurses, police and prosecutors. All of them convince her that if she can’t remember what happened, she couldn’t consent. This couldn’t be more wrong!!! Sexual assault has nothing to do with your ability to remember, it has to do with your ability to consent. Often times, women that drink alcohol blackout, which means their memory doesn’t continue to register what they are doing. It does not mean they stop thinking!!! In fact, people in blackouts are still conscious, capable of complex tasks, and may appear to be in total control.
This “victim” is no victim at all, though she has made herself believe she is innocent. Justice William Blackstone said, “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“. I say that number should be 100.