The peculiar nature of rape

The peculiar nature of rape is that conviction or acquittal depends almost entirely upon the word of the private complainant because it is essentially committed in relative isolation or even in secrecy, and it is usually only the victim who can testify of the unconsented coitus. Thus, the long standing rule is that when an alleged victim of rape says she was violated, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has indeed been committed.Since the participants are usually the only witnesses in crimes of this nature and the accused’s conviction or acquittal virtually depends on the private complainant’s testimony, it must be received with utmost caution. It is then incumbent upon the trial court to be very scrupulous in ascertaining the credibility of the victim’s testimony. Judges must free themselves of the natural tendency to be overprotective of every woman claiming to have been sexually abused and demanding punishment for the abuser. While they ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape victim goes through as she demands justice, judges should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice according to law.[1][2]
[1] People v. Macapanpan, 449 Phil. 87-89 (2003) citing People v. Alitagtag, 368 Phil. 637, 647 (1999); People v. Baltazar, 385 Phil. 1023, 1031 (2000); People v. Dumaguing, 394 Phil. 93, 103 (2000); People v. Gallo, 348 Phil. 640, 665 (1998); People v. Babera, 388 Phil. 44, 53 (2000); People v. Alvario, 341 Phil. 526, 538-539 (1997).