Rape Trauma Syndrome — Brief Background And Analysis


The phrase Rape Trauma Syndrome appears for the first time in the medical literature, in an article so titled published in the September 1974 issue of The American Journal Of Psychiatry by Ann Wolbert Burgess and Lynda Lytle Holmstrom. (My apologies for the poor quality scan).

While doubtless the authors meant well, the idea that this unique condition exists has no basis in fact. Genuine rape victims may well exhibit symptoms that may be rightly called post-traumatic stress disorder – a term that somewhat surprisingly was first used only in 1980 – but this is part of the human condition.

Different people react differently to trauma, and sometimes the same people will react differently at different times. The doctrine of RTS is promoted by anti-rape activists (so-called) and rad-fems to explain or rather to explain away the behaviour of women who claim to have been raped. A few examples will suffice:

In this quite vacuous article, an advocate of unrestricted migration (into the UK and other still predominantly white nations) bends over backwards, forwards and sideways to give ASYLUM SNEAKERS a free pass. Thus, if a woman claims asylum, has her application rejected, and in her appeal adds she was raped in her homeland (by the police, soldiers, or whoever), she delayed revealing this not because she had just invented the claim in order to get a second bite at the cherry, but because she was traumatised, ashamed, etc. Pathetic.

A far more outrageous abuse of the concept of rape trauma syndrome occurred in the case of Anita Mathews. She claimed she was gang-raped by Darelle Ghormley and two other men in November 1976; Ghormley claimed the sex was consensual. Whatever, she does not appear to have reported the attack at the time. The following month, during a car chase, she shot at Ghormley intending to kill him, and killed Donald Silva instead. Whatever happened between Mathews and Ghormley, Silva was a totally innocent party. Although there was sufficient mens rea for murder, Mathews was convicted only of voluntary manslaughter, and had the nerve to appeal her conviction. Fortunately, there was some justice, and her appeal was not allowed.

As the case of Lori McLuckie proves – hers and many other genuine rape victims’ – rape is not always a life-shattering and devastating experience, and the fact that women can react so differently after being raped, in both banal and bizarre ways, is proof of nothing at all, literally any behaviour by a woman is consistent with her having been raped hours, days, months, years, even decades later, whether she was raped or not.

In short, rape trauma syndrome is not comparable with what used to be called shell shock – a phenomenon that was first identified during World War I; it has no unique or definite symptoms, and is not falsifiable, therefore it is not a true scientific term or medical condition.

Further to all the above, it should be pointed out that introducing this spurious concept into a trial may actually harm real victims. In State v Taylor (1984), there was compelling physical evidence that a rape had been committed; Taylor did not testify, and was given a typically heavy sentence, but the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed his conviction because it agreed with rulings in other jurisdictions that though RTS may be a therapeutic tool useful in counselling, in the courtroom it is scientifically unreliable and prejudicial.

Camilo Saldana was convicted of the rape of Martha Fuller, but on appeal this conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court of Minnesota because the trial judge admitted the testimony of so-called expert witness Lynn Dreyer. Saldana was cleared at a retrial. You will not find him listed in this database though because a man named Camilo Saldana raped a young woman in June 1974, also in Minnesota. This case is not mentioned in the aforementioned 1982 judgment, but if it is the same dude the question must be asked, why was he back on the street so soon?

An in-depth article around rape trauma syndrome by Yours Truly can be found here. (The previous link has been archived by the Wayback Machine).

A footnote here about Ann Burgess; her expertise in the quackery of rape trauma syndrome has earned her a steady income as a so-called expert witness in legal proceedings, or as Margaret Hagen would say, a whore of the court. Here are two examples of her expert testimony. Maouloud Baby was convicted of rape in unusual circumstances. Check out in particular page 14 (numbered) of this judgment.

According to Dr Burgess therein, the following behaviours are consistent with rape trauma syndrome:

offering “minimal, physical resistance”
not immediately telling the first person the victim saw about the rape “even if that person might be their best friend”
engaging in routine behavior such as “going to a supermarket and shopping” shortly after the rape
not calling 911 immediately
giving one’s telephone number to the assailant.

Now ask yourself if the following are also consistent with rape trauma syndrome:

fighting the attacker
screaming for help
becoming hysterical
calling 911 immediately
refusing to give the attacker one’s telephone number or giving him a false number.

In other words, all roads lead to rape!

Finally, what must surely be the nadir of her non-career apart from the invention of this mythical syndrome, was her testimony at the trial of the odious MenÚndez brothers. The three screengrabs below are offered without comment. Well, apart from a hefty LOL.


Above: A report on the proceeding trial from the UPI Archive.

Above: A report from the Los Angeles Times.

Above: This report was actually lifted from the website of the Baltimore Sun rather than the Los Angeles Times.

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