The Rape Shield Laws Truly Offer The Protection Of A Fair Trial

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Rule 412 which is the state of Tennessee’s version of the rape shield law, is designed to protect the victims of rapes and sexual assaults. The protection offered by laws of this nature was to prevent the victims of these heinous assaults from being re-traumatized on the witness stand during cross examination from the alleged perpetrators (Brody & Acker, 2010). Although I am an avid supporter of the right to a fair trial, I feel compelled to be the voice for those who are often subjected to constant criticism from fellow peers, courts, news and now social media. Rule 412, although sound in premise behind its development, lacks concession with the changing times. There are far too many loopholes in our own rape shield law which begs the question if other state’s rape shield laws truly offer the protection that they were designed to employ. Capers (2013, p. 827) reports that the ongoing issue with rape victims today is the fear of having their past history put on trial and not the event that took place. It was because of this, that many rapes go unreported. In the early 70’s, legislatures and courts began to rethink allowing an alleged victim’s past sexual history admissible in court. This prompted questions as to whether that prior information was actually useful in a current case. The second question that arose was to whether the courts were actually trying the victim during the trial rather than the alleged perpetrator. This is how rape shield laws came about. Then,
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