I spoke with a colleague yesterday, a long-term staff member at Northwestern University. She told me that when Northwestern students report a rape, they are being told something like this: “If you report the incident to local police, they might not take you seriously. Your name will get in the newspapers. When the case goes to trial, your family will be dragged in by the media.”
This information is wrong on three counts:
- Police departments are under enormous political pressure to take rape allegations seriously and do a thorough investigation.
- Rape shield policies prevent accusers’ names from being publicized
- Over 90% of criminal cases are resolved via a plea agreement, which precludes the need for a trial
No victim of rape should be forced to report the crime to police, but victims shouldn’t be discouraged from police reporting, either.