Rape Trauma Syndrome

Rape trauma syndrome (RTS) is a topic about which experts testify in legal cases. It is most often used by prosecutors in sexual assault cases to counter a defendant's claim that the sexual contact in question was consensual. The specific nature of the testimony varies from case to case but often includes a description of the common effects of rape and an opinion that a particular complainant's behavior is consistent with—or not inconsistent with—having been raped. Judicial decisions regarding the admissibility of RTS testimony have varied because of differences in the specific nature of the testimony given as well as changes over time and across jurisdictions in rules regarding the admissibility of expert testimony. Nonetheless, expert testimony on RTS generally is admissible, particularly when it ...

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