How VAWA Could’ve Helped Daisy Coleman Get Justice

Jill Filipovic writes for The Nation: “The latest rape case to capture national attention, this one out of Maryville, Missouri, leaves justice-seekers long on anger and short on options. With a prosecutor who dropped charges and sealed case files, the alleged victim’s last hope is in the hands of a special prosecutor, appointed after a media firestorm cast a harsh light on the town. While the prosecutor may not refile charges, her presence at least offers hope that the process will be a fair one. But recent history offers an interesting twist: If not for a single Supreme Court justice, the legal landscape in Maryville might look very different right now. If only one judge on the right-leaning Rehnquist Court had voted differently in a case decided in 2000, the girl who says she was raped—and Jane Does like her across the country—might have been able to pursue a claim against the young man she says attacked her, whether or not the criminal justice system had her back. But a the majority of Justices endorsed a conservative view of federal power, leaving rape survivors with few options outside of a criminal system notoriously unfriendly to victims of gender-based violence.”