How a Rape Case Went Off The Rails

Anna North over at has posted a shocking two-part article chronicling the struggles of a student at the University of Iowa, Rebecca Epstein, to bring her rapist to justice.

In this first part, How a Rape Case Went Off the Rails, she describes Epstein’s interaction with the police, as well as with her own rapist, in an effort to be heard.

In the second part of the series, Why a Rape Doesn’t Get Prosecuted, North explores the reasons why Epstein’s rapist gets to walk away. Epstein says that the Assistant County Attorney cited Epstein’s mental illness – she has bipolar disorder – as one factor. But it is not the only one at play here. It seems that Epstein, like so many women, is not “a perfect victim”. Our very own Nancy Schwartzman is quoted in the article:

“When it comes to sex crimes or sexual behavior, the average person/jury member can’t seem to comprehend nuance. If you are raped, you should diligently scream and struggle in just the right way, call the police, collapse in a ball, and never have sex again. If you deviate from this script or course of action, well, you didn’t fight hard enough. You weren’t actually raped”.

Go ahead and read the whole series. It’s as powerful as it is depressing.

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