Has the U.S. changed much in its treatment of rape cases since the brutal 18th-century society where rape is unacknowledged and young women are treated as disposable? Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak wonders, citing cases in Montana and Washington, D.C. Last week, a Yellowstone County, Mt., judge sentenced a former teacher to 30 days in jail after he admitted raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself. Judge G. Todd Baugh said the girl was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher. He later apologized but didn’t change the sentence.
In Washington, D.C., defense attorneys in a military hearing have made their point loud and clear that if you report a sexual assault, they will make your life hell. A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman who says she was raped by three fellow students last year finally had her case acknowledged by the academy. Then she was ravaged by the attorneys for the defendants. The interrogation ended yesterday and “it sounded like a witch trial,” Dvorak says.