Four years ago, Crystal Pretzer Harris was repeatedly assaulted and raped at home by her own husband while her two young children were in the house. Although her husband has now been convicted and is serving jail time for his horrendous crimes, Crystal illustrates that it is extremely difficult for victims of rape to receive the justice they deserve. She is currently continuing to fight against the law and court system which has ordered her to pay the legal fees and spousal support to the man who abused and raped her.
Even with her husband’s violent background, without the tape recorder being at hand and her bravery in using it, she states that her husband would never have been prosecuted. Crystal describes that her husband was only convicted for one of the three criminal charges brought against him; “it shows how hard it is to convict in marital rape cases. I had a frickin tape of his crime, two of them on tape, and the jury convicted him on only one charge. That should show you how difficult it is.”
Although Crystal lives in America, there are low conviction rates for rape all around the world. In the UK, government reports estimate that only 20% of victims report their rape and of those, only 6% are ever convicted. Crystal may owe her life to that tape recording, but for millions of others who were not able to record their assault, they are extremely unlikely to receive the justice they deserve. Victims in the UK are told it has to be demonstrated beforehand that they’ll receive a ‘guilty’ verdict before they’re even given a chance at trial. Strong evidence such as a signed confession and some forensic evidence have been considered “not enough evidence” to proceed to court.
Crystal illustrates the on-going victimisation she feels at the hands of the law; “A Judge ordered me to pay my husband’s family court attorney fees of $47,000 as well as $1000 a month in spousal support while we awaited trial. Once he is released, if the law doesn’t change, I will be subject to paying the spousal support again.” Currently she is fighting against this and has just passed the first hurdle in changing the law. “I think the law has perhaps not taken marital rape seriously enough in the past. But I believe attitudes are changing about it. I do not want any other woman, or man, to suffer the way I have had to.”
Originally posted at SecondAura.blogspot.com