Should reluctant rape and abuse victims be forced to testify?

This post is inspired by the case of Greg Hardy, a Carolina Panthers NFL player whose prosecution for domestic abuse fell apart when his victim didn't show up for the trial. 

Domestic violence charges against Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy have been dismissed, with his accuser not making herself available to help with the case, prosecutors announced Monday.

Hardy's appeal of his 2014 conviction was scheduled to begin Monday morning at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, but his accuser, ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder, did not show up for the hearing.

In a statement explaining the decision to dismiss charges, the district attorney's office said it has "reliable information" that Holder and Hardy have reached a civil settlement and that she has "intentionally made herself unavailable to the State." (source)

The question I'm asking is, in a case like this, would it be re-victimization of the abuse victim to apply legal pressure for her to testify? And if it is re-victimization, would it be in the wider best interest of the community and larger world to force her to testify as a means of getting the offender off the street, into treatment (if he needs it), and prevent future offenses, especially considering that this sort of behavior tends to escalate?

In this case, by settling with the victim, he has essentially bought his way out of a criminal prosecution and perverted the course of justice.

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The Constitution is there and the words are plain English.

I think the courts stretch things a bit in cases requiring the testimony of children, but do you really want women to be treated as children?

Here in the Netherlands we use video links for the face to face, it has been very successful in getting people to testify. We also have very strict rules around how aggressive questioning can be by either council. The judges aim is to get to the kernal of truth and as we do not use juries council are not playing to them.

To respond to unseen's question, NO, forcing victims to testify and criminalising them if they do not is an appalling thought. The victim will already be on trial by the still overwhelmingly paternalistic cops, by paternalistic media and the public which amounts to a heap of pressure on people already fractured often to the point of mental illness at a time when many are still struggling to recover from physical i juries sustained in the (alledged) rape. 

I was rather amazed that the two parties in this case came to an arrangement, as there was a case open this would be witness interference here and you would get cops all over your arse. The judges would order the arrest of the advocates (lawyers) of both sides, once a case is open contact between sides other than in court would be a big no no. I observe we also have very tight media restrictions on what can and cannot be reported until such time as the trial is closed.

As with controlling guns, the US Constitution (14th Amendment) gets in the way. If I'm accused of anything, I'm entitled to look my accuser in the eye, no matter the crime, no matter their sex, and no matter their age (except for small preschool children). If the parties are adults, accusers must face the person they have accused, and that's true even if the state is functioning as the accuser.

So, does the victim have an obligation to assist in the prosecution? As a citizen, yes, in order to get a rapist or domestic abuser off the street and into the system.

I doubt if the victim in this case will be prosecuted, but primarily due to the "optics" of the situation, but is she shirking a duty by not testifying?

Question. When the constitution was penned, along with this 14th amendment, was technology sufficiently advanced to consider the use of video links? Nowadays we consider a video link conference call to be 'face time'.

I suspect it wouldn't take a rewrite of constitutional terms if the live video link was to be classified as such formally.

In a way, looking into someone's eye on a video display is little different than looking into their eye in a photograph. 

I think I can safely predict that as long as adults are involved (or even teens, for that matter) testimony by victims against abusers will continue to be in-person.

Isn't it the state which is the accuser in criminal cases? What about victimless crimes, who do you then "look in the eye"?

The state, yes, but also any witnesses, and what better witness can the state have than the person who was assaulted?

Doesn't the victim of an assault have an obligation to help the state prosecute?

A victim is surely a valuable part of the pool of evidence, but as far as I know cases can be prosecuted based on circumstantial evidence.

While having victims testify is certainly a boon to cases and in the ideal world they would all tell the whole truth, reality just isn't quite that neat and ordered. I don't really see why victims should have a major bearing on any legal matter, where that may be to the detriment or benefit of the defender. 

If being "treated like a child" you mean not having to face your abuser in court while still being able to tell your story....sign me up. if that's what it it what you will.
Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue Unseen.
I think that with the current system the way it is, it's almost impossible to testify without suffering emotionally. If we were to "force" a victim to testify we would need to address the horrible things that happen to a victim in the process.

What about future victims if the perp goes scott free due to the victim refusing to testify against him.


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