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Besides corroboration and shield laws, what other measure would you take to protect victims of rape when they are forced to testify in court?  

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I believe your question should be restated as "Besides repealing corroboration laws and revising shield laws...". Corroboration laws, where complainants have to provide some evidence of rape in addition to their own testimony, were enacted to protect defendants. Today, corroboration laws have been criticized as unfair to victims because there...

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I believe your question should be restated as "Besides repealing corroboration laws and revising shield laws...". Corroboration laws, where complainants have to provide some evidence of rape in addition to their own testimony, were enacted to protect defendants. Today, corroboration laws have been criticized as unfair to victims because there are rarely witnesses to rape, and other evidence such as DNA may not be present. On the other hand, even an innocent accused may find it hard to defend against a sympathetic rape victim's testimony if there is not a corroboration rule.

Rape shield laws can be strengthened through the use of a closed courtroom or closed circuit testimony and strict enforcement of laws that protect the complainant's privacy from invasion.

If law enforcement and prosecutors have specialized training and experience with sex crimes, that training and experience would presumably offer the complainant more protections.

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I believe there are several ways to protect a rape victim who testifies at trial while also protecting the rights of the accused, who is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Close the courtroom: The judge allows the victim to testify with only court personnel, attorneys, the jury and the defendant in the courtroom. The public, including reporters, are barred from being in the room while the victim is on the witness stand.

Closed-circuit testimony: Rather than have the victim on the witness stand, she is allowed to testify from the safety of another room, with the prosecutor, defense attorney and judge present. The jury and people in the courtroom view the proceedings over closed-circuit television.

Put up a barrier: The victim testifies from behind a screen set up in front of the witness stand so that she does not have to see the defendant as she speaks. However, this would require the overturning of Coy v. Iowa, a Supreme Court decision that disallowed this method of testimony—a precedent that, in light of further understanding of rape trauma, should be reconsidered.

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This is a very difficult issue as there is a very difficult balancing act here between the need to shield a rape victim from further humiliation and emotional harm and the need to ensure that we are not convicting men of a very significant crime without ensuring that they are truly guilty. 

That said, the first thing that could be done would be to make rape shield laws more powerful.  As it is, rape shield laws generally have a number of ways that defense lawyers can get around them.  It is typically possible for defense lawyers to question women about their sexual histories on a variety of pretexts.  Closing these loopholes would be an important step in protecting rape victims.

A second possible protection would be a set up in which the woman did not have to see the accused rapist.  It is true that defendants have the right to confront their accusers, but that right is satisfied through the ability of the defendant’s lawyer to see the victim as she testifies.  We could easily set up a system in which the defendant could see and hear the victim and could communicate with his lawyer, but in which the victim would be spared the pain of having to see her assailant as she testifies.

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