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Using rape victim's names

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Drip, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I know the rules but this one still baffles me and perhaps someone can explain why this has been an exception. Desiree Washington, the woman who said she was raped by Mike Tyson has had her named plastered in print, TV, radio, Internet, etc.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Pretty sure she filed suit - while any publication I ran would still keep her name out of it, that says "game on" for some others.

    Of course, this was like 100 years ago. No clue why it is coming up now.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    What grounds would she have to file suit? Invasion of privacy? But if you're named in a public record, then you can't sue on that.

    I don't doubt you, Moddy, I'm just thinking aloud.
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    She sued Tyson.
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Tyson's getting ready to open a Spike Lee directed show on Broadway.
    As for her name mentioned because of a civil lawsuit, should it hadve still been omitted because she is a victim?
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Ah, gotcha. For some reason I read that wrong and thought you meant she sued a publication for naming her. Now your post makes more sense - newspapers thought it was fair game as she essentially volunteered for the publicity. Carry on.
  7. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    In my mind, yes.
    To others, no. She's put it out there, made it public with a lawsuit, so it is fair game. I don't agree but that's been the argument the times I have seen victims' names mentioned.

    Did she sue before the trial? I ask because I seem to remember Tyson mentioning her by name in a semi-apology during the trial, and papers using it.
  8. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I don't believe Desiree Washington had any interest in being "protected." She did interviews, and said she wanted to be an example to other rape victims that they didn't have to be ashamed or intimidated.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I had an ethics professor in college — a woman, if it matters — who staunchly advocated for the naming of rape victims. She pointed to statistics about false claims in rape cases and said it was unfair to drag an alleged rapists name through the mud but not the alleged victim when we would be so quick to name other crime victims.

    Of course, those ideologies are interesting in an academic setting but impossible in a newsroom. Readers would, rightfully, be very upset if a newspaper named rape victims, though part of that may be because we haven't for so long.
  10. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    I think one rationale used for naming rape victims in news stories is that doing so de-stigmatizes the crime by treating it like any other crime.

    While there is something to be said for that, rape isn't like any other crime. It is such a violation of the most intimate and private part of a person's life that it has to be treated differently.

    And, let's face it, despite the strides society has made in recent years, the stigma against rape is still attached and probably always will be.

    If a rape victim chooses to reveal their name, then more power to them. But it is still a very courageous act to do so, and it MUST remain the victim's choice as to whether a news organization publicizes their name.
  11. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Here's a very courageous young lady.
  12. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    The only time I've actually worked at a paper that named the victim of a sexual crime involved a football coach having an inappropriate relationship with a high school junior. In that case, she and her family came to the paper to give their side of the story. I believe in that case, there were rumors going around that she had made it up and wanted to share her part of it. Other than that, even if the accusations are made up, I don't feel it's right to name the accuser unless they want to be named. I think it's such a difficult thing to go through, there shouldn't be any discouragement for a victim to come forward.
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