Some people argue that journalists should identify victims of rape or sexual assault in news stories because they should be treated like any other crime victims. This position ignores important and unique aspects of the crimes of rape and sexual assault. Although rape and sexual assault occur at an alarming rate in our society, the vast majority of these crimes remain unreported. Victims remain silent because they fear being subjected to the intense public scrutiny and blame that often follow being named in the media. Our culture continues to condemn the victim for rape and, as a result, an extraordinary amount of shame and silence follow the crime. Publicizing the name of a rape complainant under these conditions only deters more victims from coming forward.


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