Educating Juries in Sexual Assault Cases Part I: Using Voir Dire to Eliminate Jury Bias

Crimes of sexual violence continue to be misunderstood even though there has been significant research surrounding the dynamics of sexual assault and its impact on victims during the last three decades. Unfortunately, too many people still believe the outdated and disproved mythology that surrounds sexual violence. Rape myths shift the blame for the crime from the rapist to the victim. When a fact-finder in a sexual assault case accepts a rape myth as true, the prosecutor faces tremendous barriers to achieving justice for victims and holding offenders accountable for their crimes. This article is the first in a series that will explain strategies to educate juries about sexual violence facts and overcome common misconceptions. In addition to providing data-driven information about sexual assault based on research, journal articles, and authoritative publications, this article will suggests ideas to improve jury selection techniques.