Cassandras Curse: Reports of Rape & Sexual Harassment Commonly Ignored

photo: Orin Zebest
photo: Orin Zebest

Cassandra was a princess of Troy during the epic Trojan War. She was so beautiful that she attracted the eye of the God Apollo who promised her the gift of prophecy in return for sexual favors. Cassandra agreed, received the gift of prophecy, and then refused to have any sexual relations with Apollo. Apollo cursed her for this. Cassandra retained the ability to perfectly predict the future, but no one ever believed her or even listened to her warnings. Everyone deemed Cassandra a raving lunatic.

Accusations of rape and sexual assault are often met with the same skepticism as Cassandra’s predictions were. Many sexual assaults remain unreported because of the skepticism they attract; accusers are often, immediately thought to be lying. In such cases, the only repercussions are for the victims: ruined credibility, and perhaps additional violence. These feelings about rape may be due to the very personal aspects of the crime. It is both an intimate and absurdly violent act. There are rarely eyewitnesses which can reduce the facts to a he says/she says situation of credibility. No matter the reason for reporting/not reporting the rape, the way in which the law deals with the crime must be improved. If you find yourself in a matter of false rape accusations or involved with charges of sexual assault where little to no facts are present, the most important thing is having a confident criminal defense attorney.

Grandma innocent of sexual abuse charges in Utah

photo: Mr. T in DC
photo: Mr. T in DC

Bente Hansen, a grandmother many times over, was accused in 2006 of sexually abusing her grandchildren in Utah.  However, at trial Hansen was found to be not guilty. Her acquittal was largerly based on the lack of physical evidence in the case. In sexual abuse cases, eyewitnesses often provide the strongest evidence for the case, and are therefore seriously relied on by the jury. Hansen’s Utah criminal defense attorney Clayton Simms was able to convey that the lack of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony that was only given through the use of extensive therapy was not enough to convict Hansen beyond a reasonable doubt. Hansen was able to overcome public condemnation in court, even when Taylorsville, Utah police described her case as some of the most troubling incest and sex abuse cases they’d ever seen. (“Grandma is not Guilty”, Salt Lake Tribune, Reavy, 9/8/06).