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Appeals Court Upholds Judge's Ban of the Word Rape

Appeals Court Upholds Judge's Ban of the Word Rape


An appeals court just let stand a judge's ban of the use of the words, "rape," and "rape kit," "assailant," and "victim" during a sexual assault trial. Three judges on the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the federal court didn't have jurisdiction in the case forcing the plaintiff, Tory Bowen, to continue her appeal still seeking justice.

During the original trial, the judge allowed the defendant's attorney to use the words, "sex" and "intercourse." The judge objected to the words like "rape" because the terms are value-laden, not legal terms, and could inflame the passions of a jury. The plaintiff therefore had to testify for 13 hours describing the event that happened to her as "sex." She said the ban in her opinion meant she had to lie on the witness stand. “The word ‘sex’ implies consent. I never once would describe (what happened) as sex.” She was afraid that the jury would think she had chosen to use the word.

The first trial ended in a hung jury.

Do you agree with the judge that words like rape are unfairly inflammatory? Do you think delaying justice over the parsing of a term makes the plaintiff have to relive the experience over and over?

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