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Sexual assault is difficult to prosecute

It is not difficult to understand why sexual assault is difficult to prosecute and to prove. Most sexual assaults are between persons who know each other or are related to each other. There are fewer rapes between strangers.

Also most sexual assaults have no other witnesses who can corroborate the acts or events constituting the sexual assault. Most sexual assaults happen behind closed doors in the privacy of bedrooms or homes. The only witnesses to the sexual assault were the two people who engaged in the sexual intercourse.

Thus, necessarily, there are always two sides to the story --a he-said-she-said kind of narrative. The complaining victim will have his or her own version of the facts and the event and the accused will also have his or her own version of the acts or events which transpired.

The prosecution for sexual assault will usually involve the testimony of the complaining victim who alone can establish what happened and more importantly, her lack of consent to the sexual intercourse. The complaining victim’s testimony and her version of the events must necessarily be intelligible – it has to be understood logically and chronologically. The complaining victim’s testimony must also be reliable.

Establish the reliability of the complaining victims’ version of the events hinges on the demeanor of the complaining victim before the sexual assault, during the sexual assault, immediately after the sexual assault and during her testimony in court.

One logical way by which to cast doubt upon the reliability of the complaining victim’s version of the events is the reliability of the complaining victim’s memory of the events – she must be able to state with accuracy the time, date or significance of the factual circumstances of the sexual assault. For instance, if the victim sustained head injuries, her ability to recall details of the assault may be put in question.

If the victim was drugged or intoxicated during the sexual assault, her recollection of the identity of the assailant as well as the details of the events constituting the sexual assault may also be put into question. These can raise reasonable doubt as to the version of the events of the complaining victim.

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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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