Should those accused of rape be anonymous as well?

Been thinking about this for a while and then this topic brought it to mind again.

I’ve always thought that those accused of crimes like rape or child molestation are treated very unfairly. Even if they are eventually found to be innocent, the stigma can persevere and damage their reputation for years. To me, this completely destroys the whole “innocent until proven guilty” foundation of criminal justice because oftentimes, even if there is little or no evidence in the accuser’s charges, public opinion quickly turns against the accused.

I believe that to make things just, a similar protection must be put into place for those accused of these crimes.

Those against this proposition may say that such a protection may make victims less likely to come forth. That could be true, I have no doubt that it may figure into the minds of some people. But I believe that this anonymity is more in line with our laws, our beliefs, and our concept of what is fair. My response to this criticism is that eventually, the courts will render a decision one way or another. If the accused is not guilty, then publishing his name in the papers would have been a miscarriage of justice, as an innocent person would have been tarnished. If he was found guilty, then you can publish it all you want, so it evens out.

Perhaps one is worried about other victims coming forth. If a person is accused and he is a rapist, other victims may come forth. That could be a benefit of publishing his name. But wouldn’t the same apply to the accuser? If she has accused others with no merit before, or blackmailed people with threats of allegations, wouldn’t that induce victims of her deceit to come forth as well? Our society wants to protect those who have been harmed by this heinous crime, but not all of them are real victims. Given that justice is supposed to be blind, this asymmetrical publicity seems anathema to the very idea of justice.

It’s worth it to note that in most other crimes, the accused isn’t protected with anonymity. We know why it happens with rape: it’s a stigma, sex is still taboo, the crime is very personal, and victims often feel shame. We wouldn’t want others who are victims to not come forth if they think their names will be all over the news.

Practically, there would be problems for sure and anonymity cannot be guaranteed. In famous cases like Kobe Bryant, people are going to notice he’s disappearing before and after games to go to Colorado, missing games, etc. I think such a thing is avoidable, but represents a best case scenario situation: courts will do what it can to make sure his name doesn’t get leaked out, but he will have to make up the excuses to his own family, friends, and job.

So what do Dopers think? Should the accused have anonymity?

What anonymity do rape victims have, aside from what news outlets voluntary impose?

Are you talking about legally, or voluntarily by news media?

So I don’t think there’s any way to legally bar the press from reporting on the names of the accused. IIRC, laws preventing the media from reporting the names of rape victims have also been struck down (though I believe there’s an exception if the victim is a minor).

Plus, while there’s a stigma to being a rape victim that isn’t present with being mugged or robbed or murdered, I don’t think the difference translates to the purpotraters of said crimes. Being an accused rapist isn’t wildly worse in the public mind then being an accused murderer or terrorist or hamburgler, so if your going to try and protect accused rapists in this way, I think you’d need to extend the protection to all violent criminals.

It’s the law in the U.K. Further, any allegation of rape must be pursued.

But the biggest problem with rape, unless the rapist beat the crap out of her or there was a hidden video camera, is that its very often mostly a he said/she said kinda crime. Any proof they had sex is nearly meaningless, though it is often used as if it really proves something. Those other crimes, not nearly so so much. Its much harder to explain how you accidentally killed someone and hid the body or ended up with something very valuable for no good reason. Those kinda things rarely happen accidentally. People fuck all the time. Usually without rape being an integral aspect of it. Any proof that two people fucked only means two people fucked.

I like the suggestion for anonymity for both victim and accused. Until proven guilty in the case of the convicted.

Really? I mean, it’s just a direct disagreement, but I think that this is entirely wrong. People accused and acquitted of sexual crimes definitely have a stronger stigma than other criminals, in my experience.

Too bad it’s unconstitutional. Trials are public record. I don’t feel sorry for rapists, anyway, nor do I buy into the local board consensus that all rape victims are lying sluts.
Plus, you could make the same complaint about people accused of any crime. Being falsely accused of murder or embezzlement could be just as damaging to a reputation. Why should rapists get special treatment.

I disagree with this. People acqitted of murder don’t necessarily escape any stigma (O.J. Simpson sure as hell didn’t), and I think that a lot of people cleared or acquitted of sexual crimes can escape without any stigma at all. The Duke LaCrosse team doesn’t have any lingering stigma.

It should extend to all criminals. Innocent until proven guilty is JUST that. What the press does in murder cases works to the advantage of both parties. If he is guilty and found guilty then, when the press reports it the victims are provided at least the relief that the accused was the guilty party.
In rape, as stated upthread is one of those automatically applied stigmas that stay with the accused regardless of guilt. If rape cases were as closely followed on and reported as murder cases, it may all wash out. When the press simply reports the accused name as it relates to a rape charge and doesn’t follow up is when the issue of mud slinging gets brought to bear.
I feel anonymity should be the default case for all criminal charges. Innocent until proven guilty (even in the eyes of the watching public)

I agree with this. While trials are public record, there is no need to publicize them. Anyone who wants to go down to the courthouse and see who’s on trial for what is fine with me, but the names of the accused and the victims should be kept out of the press (not necessarily unobtainable, but slightly protected) unless and until they are found guilty.

I have no sympathy for rapists nor do I have sympathy for murderers or other violent criminals; I do however have sympathy for those who may be falsely accused, found innocent but still have to suffer through the damage caused by being known as a rapist/murderer/violent criminal.

Nobody ever said this anywhere on this board. Nobody. I challenge you to find one instance. Just one.

Only because of the massive amount of press it got. Take away the coverage of the acquittal and see what kind of stigma gets attached…

Look at any thread about rape. They’re all pretty much instantly filled with misogynist fantasies that women are constantly making false rape accusations.

So the publicity worked in their favor, then, didn’t it?

Sure, does it always?

They can’t keep it from the press. Freedom of the press is explicitly protected by the First Amendment. Constitutionally, they have a right to be in the courtroom and to report on it. There really isn’t any way to keep a trial from being publicized if that’s what the press wants to do. The courts are the government, the press is the people. The government can’t keep that information from the people.

You said that the consensus is that “all rape victims are lying sluts”. So, since it’s a consensus, it must have been said by the majority of participants in those threads. I’m only asking you to find one person that said that all rape victims are lying sluts. Should be easy.

It depends on the details. The public is capable of drawing conclusions based on actual evidence and not just charges or dispositions.