A 16-year-old girl posted a cry for help on YouTube two weeks ago. She was allegedly drugged and raped by a 23-year-old man. In the video, she does not name the rapist, but instead focuses on her disappointment that the Florida state attorney’s office refused to prosecute the case.
CNN picked up on the story this week. Their take is that young people are using social networking sites to talk about sexual assault. From a legal perspective, we think using YouTube as a forum to criticize the justice system is the more interesting aspect. CNN touches on that as well:
But counselors said survivors are going to look wherever they can to find help and comfort, particularly when they don’t get it through the court system.
Fewer than 5 percent of reported cases in Florida make it to a prosecutor’s office, Dritt said. Whether because of lack of forensic evidence or because many are he said/she said accounts, rape cases can be very difficult to try.
“What you hear from every rape crisis center from Pensacola to Key West is that there are hardly ever any prosecutions,” she said. “Most sexual violence is acquaintance rape, and unfortunately, a lot of juries still think that if a victim had a relationship with their attacker, then they cannot be raped by that person.”
According to CNN, the case was dropped because the victim and the accused had an ongoing sexual relationship and the prosecutor concluded that their sex was consensual. Jezebel points out that the victim was just 15 at the time, and unable to give consent according to Florida law. We wonder how this will play out for Lawson Lamar, the state attorney for this district.
Teen alleging rape turns to YouTube [CNN]
Teenage Rape Victim Turns To YouTube For Help [Jezebel]
A 16 year old rape victim needs help [YouTube]