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Showing posts from August, 2007

Court Forbids Victim from Using the Terms “Victim”, “Rape”, “Force”, “Attack” and “Sexual Assault”

By Jennifer R. Cochran*
As published in Sexual Assault Report, July/August 2007

In a case in which the defendant Pamir Safi was charged with raping the victim while she was unconscious, a Lancaster County [Nebraska] District Court Judge Jeffrey Cheuvront ordered the victim not to use the terms rape, sexual assault, attack, force, or victim in her trial testimony, requiring her instead to describe the acts as “sex” and “intercourse.” The judge also forbade used of the phrase “rape kit” and ordered witnesses to say “sexual examination kit” to describe the process conducted on the victim after the incident. The “sexual assault nurse examiner” was to be described as a “sexual examiner”. While it is not uncommon for a judge to control the language and evidence used by state actors, such as prosecutors and police, an order against a private person raises constitutional concerns worthy of analysis but not addressed in this article. The prosecution’s motion to exclude the terms sex and intercou…