PSYC 353 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Sex Organ, Rape Shield Law, Model Penal Code

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28 Feb 2018
Chapter 10: Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Violence
Class Notes
GBV goal for society improving institutions that handle sexual violence while also working
toward the eradication of any tolerance for GBV
Traditional definition of rape = the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will
-Carnal knowledge only included forcible male penal penetration of a female vagina
-Excluded other types such as oral, anal, rape of males, penetration with other objects,
rape of females by females, and non-forcible rape
Statutory and Procedural Reforms:
-The definition of rape has evolved Model Penal Code (MPC) which establishes state
penal codes originally used the rape definition from 1962 written by the American Law
-Substantial changes have been made over time by efforts from feminist activists, victim
rights activists and conservative law and order groups Michigan led the reform in
1974 and by 1980, all states enacted legislative reforms
-Gender neutral laws
-Eliminating the marital exemption (1993 in all states)
-Enacting rape shield laws for victims (prior sexual history excluded)
-Enacting First, Second, and Third degree sexual assault or battery charges
-Removal of “resistance” as a requirement
-Removal of “corroboration” as a requirement
-These changes recognized a broader range of victims/offenders
-Procedural changes also took place that treated rape offenses as other acts of violence
Outcome of Legal Reforms:
-A slight increase in victim reports of acquaintance rape
-No significant changes in prosecution or conviction rates
-A justice gap = gap between the number of cases reported and the smaller
number of convictions
-Justice gap is directly related to the letter of the law (law in the books) and the
applied law (law in practice)
-Rape shield law needs further revisions as they allow judicial discretion
Sexual Violence Outcome Data
-Lonsway & Archambault (2012):
Q1: Are more sexual assaults likely to be reported to the police now versus in the
A1: Yes, increases occurred between the 1960s and 1990s, but have remained
stable since then
Q2: How many reports result in conviction and incarceration?
A2: Only a small number of sexual assault cases end in prosecution
-According to the Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (1979-1990) and the
State Court Processing Stats (1998-2004), “half of those arrested and prosecuted
for rape will be convicted on a felony charge (but not necessarily rape). Once an
individual is convicted of rape, incarceration is inevitable.”
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