chapter  4
6 Pages

The Victim: Twice Wounded

WithEllen Levin

Today the media's treatment of victims is a much talked-about subject. Two recent cases in particular have made the public more aware of just how difficult it is for the accuser to face the accused in any search for truth and justice that is moderated, as it were, by the media. First we witnessed the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings, in which Anita Hill, with much courage, made public her version of sexual harassment by Judge Thomas. In the William Kennedy Smith rape trial we were once again electronically plugged into some very personal and sexually explicit testimony. For many Americans, the William Kennedy Smith trial was probably the first time they had ever seen a real judicial proceeding, made possible by Florida's permitting cameras in the courtroom. Treating victims of crime with respect, dignity and compassion is a matter of observing their basic human and civil rights.