Weinstein Trial: Expert Testifies About Rape Victim Behaviors

“Rape is not something we see on TV,” Dr. Barbara Ziv told the jury during Harvey Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles, when she was called by prosecutors on Tuesday to testify about the “rape story” – in other words, denying the general story. Hold society’s beliefs about rape and sexual abuse.

Ziv said, telling the jury that the rape victim’s behavior was “contradictory.”

Ziv is a licensed forensic psychologist and therapist specializing in all aspects of sexual assault, assessing the behavior of victims and perpetrators. Throughout her decades-long medical career, she has worked with more than a thousand victims of sexual abuse, but has no connection to the Weinstein case and has not worked with any of the Jane Does who allege they were victims of Weinstein’s abuse. .

Ziv was an expert witness in Weinstein’s first criminal trial in New York City in 2020, as well as Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault trial in Pennsylvania.

Ziv stood in the stands for hours. After her presentation to the jury, Weinstein’s defense attorney, Alan Jackson, cross-examined Ziv, focusing on the differences between the legal and medical definitions of rape and consent.

“You have witnessed the myth of rape … it is a generalization of behavior”, to which Ziv replied, “I came here to study what is true about sexual abuse.”

Ziv was called upon by prosecutors as an expert to advance their case. It is expected that later in the trial, the defense will also ask a doctor or a medical expert to weigh in on memory loss and other issues that will offer the jury a different view of Ziv’s education and psychological work.

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Memory is complex, Ziv explained to jurors, and victims of sexual assault retain the memory of the “central trauma” forever, but the smaller details of the attack — such as the date, time, what their abuser was wearing, etc. — may be lost. During the year.

“If people don’t report right away, they say they don’t remember years later,” Ziv said. “It’s not that they’re lying… People are trying their best… They’re trying to remember.”

Ziv explained that while police sometimes use those “memory problems” to say that victims are not credible, that’s changing as understanding of rape victims has progressed in recent years.

As part of her presentation, Ziv debunked the “rape myth,” telling jurors that most of the behaviors that the general public thinks of rape victims are not true, according to a psychiatrist who specializes in sexual abuse.

Rape often occurs among people who know each other, although most people believe the attacks are often by strangers, Ziv said. “Most people are raped by someone they know,” she told the jury, explaining that while “stranger rape” does occur, most sexual assaults involve people who know each other in some capacity, unlike the representations commonly seen in television and movies.

Victims of sexual abuse don’t fight back against their attackers, even though most people believe they will fight back, psychiatrists told jurors. “Most people don’t resist,” Ziv said. “Even yelling and aggressive noises are not as common as we think. … This is resistance. You think if you are violated, you will fight back.” She added, “The bottom line is, that’s not the case.”

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During the inspection, Jackson asked Ziv if “someone fought back.” She replied, “Some,” and then continued, “Are some women fighting?” Of course. The myth is that it’s common.” Then, Jackson asked, “Someone screamed, shouted and hollered?” Ziv responded the same way, answered, “Something.”

Ziv told jurors that victims of sexual assault usually don’t report it immediately, even though most people believe they would go to the police if they were assaulted..

“Sexual abuse is an underreported crime,” Ziv said. “Even when there is a report, there is very little prosecution.”

She explained that when a victim reports an assault, it’s often not to the authorities, but perhaps to a friend or family member – but never saying anything is common. Ziv said there were “large proportions [that] never told anyone in their life.” She said a sense of “shame” is why many victims don’t talk about their assaults, but there are many reasons why victims don’t speak up. “It’s a difficult topic to discuss.” The psychiatrist added, “They are afraid of backlash … intrusion into their private lives … fear of being classified as a liar or a liar.”

Ziv told the jury that sexual assault victims’ behavior after an attack, whether happy or sad, does not determine whether they were assaulted. “Behavior after sexual abuse is variable,” she said. “You can’t tell if a person has been sexually assaulted based on the results of their behavior.”

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Victims of sexual assault often keep in contact with their perpetrators after the attack, Ziv explained, noting that the common belief is that rape victims will never see or speak to their rapist again. She testified that most people saw their offenders again, and were willing to continue communicating. with them for various reasons.

“People work in the same circles,” she advises, explaining that victims may not want their friends to find out what happened. “It’s a really embarrassing experience to be sexually assaulted by someone you know.”

The reason victims of sexual abuse may talk to their perpetrator afterwards is because “they want to make sense” or they want an apology. Often, ongoing contact occurs because victims fear retaliation and “stock damage,” Ziv said, especially when the perpetrator is in a position of power. “When an offender damages other aspects of your life… those things affect your path forever.”

Ziv also told jurors that it is common for rape victims to have sex with their attackers later. “A lot of times people feel like they’re just damaged goods, and nobody wants them so they start acting like damaged goods.”

Jackson challenged Ziv, asking, “Do some people avoid their attacks at all costs?”

“Yes,” she replied.

And when he asked, “Did someone go to the police immediately?” She replied, “Someone.”


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