What does it take for a woman to prove she was raped? NYPD Officer Michael Pena was found guilty of sexual assault this week but as reported by New York magazine, the jury could not come to a consensus on rape charges and the judge has declared the trial over. Pena was accused of raping a schoolteacher at gunpoint last summer, but despite eyewitness accounts and the presence of Pena’s semen in the victim’s underwear, the jury was unable to find Pena guilty of rape. Pena’s lawyer argued that he “failed to have intercourse with her” and thus no rape took place. The New York Daily News reports that they jury did not convict Pena because the victim failed to recall small details of her surroudings:
But a Manhattan jury made up of highly educated professionals refused to convict Officer Michael Pena of rape for a startling reason — the victim could not recall the color of a car parked by the courtyard where she was forced to her knees, sources told The Daily News Thursday.
In addition to proving penetration took place beyond any doubt, that force was used, that the victim did not previously know the assailant, it seems anyone pursuing rape charges must also remember every minute details of the surroundings when the rape took place. Did whoever posed such a question ever stop to think if the color of a nearby car would really be on the mind of a person facing a violent assault? No wonder rape is so underreported.