How Do I Know You’re Not Lying? Gender Bias and Sexual Assault Response

Presented by: Chief Jerald Monahan, MS and Wendy Patrick, JD, PhD
Provided by: End Violence Against Women International

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Time: 5:00 am – 6:30 am ChST

A systematic and impartial law enforcement investigation must seek to avoid drawing on gender-based stereotypes and attitudes at every step of the process. This is why the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published groundbreaking guidance for law enforcement in 2015, entitled, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
In this webinar, the presenters will explore the phenomenon of gender bias, both explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious), and the resulting stereotypes and attitudes that can influence the professional response to, and investigation of, sexual assault. The presenters will begin by introducing the concept of implicit bias, and then address key questions about gender bias in particular that can disadvantage (or advantage) either the victim or suspect. The presenters will also describe the critical role gender bias plays in the designation of false reports in cases of sexual assault and will consider the intersection of gender bias and victim recantations.
Unfortunately, one common manifestation of bias is the view that sexual assault disclosures are “false until proven true” – victims are viewed with skepticism until they can prove that they were “really raped.” This is why EVAWI launched Start by Believing, a global campaign to increase awareness of sexual assault and improve societal responses. Communities and agencies that embrace the Start by Believing philosophy can use a variety of EVAWI-created materials to implement reforms and develop their own campaigns and local initiatives. But Start by Believing is more than just a few words. It is not simply a campaign or a pledge; it is a philosophical stance that “flips the script” on the message victims have historically received from professionals and support people, which is: “How do I know you’re not lying?”


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