Reality Check: Pennsylvania's Rape Laws Perpetuate the Myths

It’s easier to get away with sexual assault in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in U.S.

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 10 | Posted Jun. 22, 2011

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“Because jury instructions come under the evidentiary rules and procedure, we did not want to create a dispute between the Legislature and the courts by possibly overstepping the line between the two branches of government,” says Briana Elzey, Parker’s chief legislative aide.

In other words: baby steps for the only state backward enough to actively perpetuate rape myths that create biases against victims of sexual assault.

“This is a bill whose time has come,” says Diane Moyer, attorney and legal director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, who along with Harley assisted Parker in developing the legislation.

“We have rape laws on the books in Pennsylvania, but then it’s, ‘Why did you wear a dress, why did you shave your legs, why are you a woman essentially,’” says Moyer. “You just can’t believe it’s happening in 2011.”

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1. Fran said... on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:03AM

“Thank God. This bill is long overdue.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jul 25, 2011 at 11:20PM

“Pa is stupid! If there are so many women complaining that they where raped by the same man doesn't make sense to believe them? How dumb is that I was rapes 3x in a matter of hrs last yr. and the fool is still running the streets. How stupid and lazy can this justice system get. Rape is not a JOKE! Wake up PA! WAKE WORLD! This world is so focused war and finding excuses for war for greed that the neglect real life issuses.”

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3. anonymous said... on Oct 26, 2012 at 04:30PM

“Can you believe, in Pa. you have to prove rape was responsible for your pregnancy, but if you are raped forcibly, Republican legislators in Congress believe your body shuts down and you can't get pregnant. Then if you have baby and are single in Pa. you must prove that it was a product of rape (which we all know won't get a woman pregnant). Then again, if you are raped some in Congress feel that God will gift you with a baby, so how can Pennsylvania deny the poor baby (God''s gift) support. Then again, we all know that the Republicans and the Tea Party only give lip service to God.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Mar 8, 2013 at 06:17AM

“my daughter was sexually assaulted by 2 neighbors. they were 20 and 22, she was 12. They were arrested and later released on bail. One had made admissions and tried for a plea. My daughter said NO DEAL. we now are awaiting the next phase, in the meantime, she feels like she cannot do anything. Like she is a prisoner in her own home..she was recently at the mall and he seeked her out followed her into a store and stared at her. I believe in attempt to intimidate her. we are seeking bail revocation. However, he is still out, parading around. Laws need to change! They need to take less emphasis off of drug dealers and way more attention to violent offenders!!! THese laws are backwards and are teaching our youth, there is no reason to tell because the offenders walk.”

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5. paula said... on Oct 12, 2014 at 07:50PM

“I was raped so was so many others in the same way the same group at our job. the police know they video taped all of there crimes for each other.
p h r c 333 market street and there lawyer meyer help them get away with it .even with dozens of the same complaints the board of transportation will not fire any of them and yet no one fired any of them. i've been through a few attorneys they just keep threatening them there afraid. i"m still being stalked and terrorized at work every day I cant go any where new they will only follow. I need help with this rape cult in hbg pa.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Jul 24, 2015 at 02:36AM

“I was raped in Philadelphia PA back in 1994! I had just graduated 8th grade a few weeks prior! I was hanging out at Heitzman (Amber) playground that day at the TAPS tournaments with a bunch of the older and younger Amber click or gang or whatever u want to call us, them. There were also a few police officers hanging out with us. After the tournament, I went to hang out with a guy I had been talking to. He was one of the older guys, in his 20s! (I know I was so wrong for talking n hanging out with the older guys, but when I was that young, I thought it was so cool that an older guy even looked my way. Well, the guy I was talking to went to make another beer run and told me to wait there. There were two guys there. While waiting, I went to the bathroom. One of the guys came into the bathroom, pushed me down, I hit my head on the sink, and he raped me. I ran out of the house and down the street and right into my older sister! I was crying hysterically and screamed out "he raped me!”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jul 24, 2015 at 02:46AM

“(Cont. It wouldn't let me type anymore so I'm continuing here) "He raped me!" My sister rite away asked one of the neighbors that came out after hearing me screaming to use their phone. She called 911. Unfortunately, the officers that came out was two of the ones from the playground earlier that day! The officer that was driving, was the one hanging out with my rapist! They were good friends! He said to my sister, " ma'am your sister is drunk. She is underaged! Are you sure you want to report an incident because we might wind up obligated to arrest her for underaged drinking?" She said she wasn't worried about that and were they seriously talking to her about my drinking instead of worrying about me being raped! So her and I were taking to the Victims detective unit place. We were told to go home and come back in the morning when I wasn't intoxicated to give my statement. We went back the next day, after I showered a million times and scrubbed my entire body ( because we weren't told j”

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8. Anonymous said... on Jul 24, 2015 at 02:54AM

“(Cont again) ( just how much ALL my physical evidence would be washed off!!) We went back and they took my statement and they took me to the er for a rape kit (yes knowing nothing would show up at this point!) Later after we got home, a man from the block the rape occurred on, came around to my house and informed us that he called 911 n reported 2 men planning to rape a young girl on the porch across from him! Can u believe NO cops came out to stop my rape?!! I was stalked, called a liar n every other name n the book by all the amber click until court! On the day of court the man called n said he was at the hospital with his wife who just had a heart attack, but the da didn't ask for a continuance! Add no witness with no physical evidence the judge threw my case out n said to my rapist, " I am not saying you are not a rapist! I'm just saying today we can not prove it with just the victim's word against your word and no witnesses or evidence" then apologized to me for the justice system”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jul 24, 2015 at 03:04AM

“(Sorry for another Cont)"failing me,the police officers failing to give me a rape kit the night of,and the da not asking for a new court date!Wth?!! Is that apology supposed to make me feel better?! It hasn't! I still have nightmares and flash backs!21 years later,And I'm still messed up over it!Even to the point where I was taken to a motel in NJ a few years later and was raped again n drugged to the point where I still don't know the extent of everything that happened! I just know I ran into another room, naked n into their shower scrubbing my body!Then walked all the way back home to Philly!Never tried to report it after what happened the 1st time! It sickens me to my soul to know how us women (n young girls) r treated after being raped! Is this city serious?Criminals get more time for smoking weed then raping someone! They get more for voluntarily prostituting then for men raping someone! Something has to change!We deserve to be protected n they deserve punishment for their crimes!”

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10. Anonymous said... on Aug 10, 2015 at 11:32PM

“Philadelphia SVU is just as bad as the rapist . They are the most incompetent arrogant idiots ever to exist . I know now why women don't report it . All men in this unit should be fired . They made a very young woman who was scared and confused feel like the criminal . Refused to do physical exam . And refused to allow her parent to be present because she was over 18 . She now suffers from PTSD . Nightmares every time she closed her eyes , panic attacks, depression , anxiety .But was told she wasn't raped . Nightmares don't lie. Sad how those who swear to serve and protect fail these victims . And how are laws keep letting them out . This city has thoroughly disgusted me . The city I loved has made me embarrassed to say I'm from Philadelphia .”

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