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Sri Lankan Law Forum » Criminal Law Forum » Proof of Rape in Sri Lanka

Proof of Rape in Sri Lanka

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1 Proof of Rape in Sri Lanka on Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:46 pm

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A woman is usually raped when others are not present and there are no witnesses to prove it. But there are other ways of proving rape. These are:
Injuries to the genital area or other injuries if the man has used violence (need not be external)
Torn clothes that can prove that sexual intercourse was without consent
Victim survivor’s description of the accused made to the medical officer at the time of examination
Any recordings (audio or visual), if taken through mobile phones etc.
DNA evidence of the perpetrator such as semen, hair, blood found on the victim-survivor
Previous threats by the perpetrator directed towards the victim-survivor on other occasions, and third party testimonies to support the same, if any

If a woman is raped and the offender is charged with rape, she has to prove in court:
The identity of the man who is accused of committing the crime
Identify all the men involved in case of gang rape. If all the men cannot be identified it may be possible to identify them by other evidence
That the woman was actually raped
That the woman did not consent to the act

Some difficulties in getting a conviction
Gender bias in law of evidence
Aggressive cross examination
Discriminatory rules of evidence
Difficulty of proving absence of consent

The law on court procedures and practice sometimes work to prevent women from obtaining justice. The absence of consent of the woman or girl is crucial to proving the crime of rape and therefore she will face aggressive cross examination on this issue. In cases of statutory rape however consent is not crucial as the prosecution only has to prove that sexual intercourse took place with a child below 16 years, except in case of married Muslims.

In a situation of custodial rape where the woman is placed under the power or authority of the alleged rapist, absence of consent becomes difficult for the prosecution to prove. Legal experts have expressed concern over this issue and propose the Indian approach to a shift in the burden of proof in cases of custodial rape where the defence is required to prove express consent to intercourse by the woman or girl. (Violence, Law & Women’s Rights in South Asia. Savitri Goonesekere (Ed). SAGE Publications: 2004) The woman’s character and the fact that she willingly had intercourse previously with other men are not relevant to the crime but bias in rules of evidence may in fact result in evidence being led on this subject.

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