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It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn’t enough to get a single rape conviction against him.
The verdicts in these cases would be far lighter than his accusers sought — and victims’ advocates say the outcome reveals a disturbing truth about the justice system.
“Cases where a victim knows her assailant are still extraordinarily hard to win,” says Jennifer Long, director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Juries are extremely resistant.” Until now, it’s been impossible to know exactly how many of these cases collapse in court, because no prosecution data was being collected.
What’s especially troubling is that the very things that some of his accusers speculate made the juries so skeptical are typical elements of nonstranger assaults.
It doesn’t fit with most people’s misguided concept of rape, for example, that Marsalis’s accusers went out with him willingly — thinking him a worldly doctor, the embodiment of Mr.
Cases still hard to win When it comes to rape prosecutions as a whole, so much has changed for the better: Thirty years’ worth of advocacy, better investigation techniques and tighter laws have led more women than ever to come forward and report the crime to police.
But in cases of nonstranger rape — which represent three quarters of all rape cases in the United States — all that progress often comes screeching to a halt in the deliberation room.
“To a juror, a rapist is a guy who jumps out of the bushes and throws a woman to the ground,” Schafran explains.
But the research and training group End Violence Against Women International in Addy, Washington, just completed a four-year study across eight states and has allowed SELF an exclusive early look at its conclusions.
Of all the rape cases that come across prosecutors’ desks, stranger-rape cases have the best courtroom odds, with 68 percent ending with a conviction or guilty plea.
But when a woman knows her assailant briefly (less than 24 hours), a mere 43 percent of cases end in a conviction.
When they know each other longer than 24 hours, the conviction rate falls to 35 percent.