Twenty-eight years ago, The Accused was released in theaters. It told the harrowing story of Sarah Tobias, who is gang-raped in a local bar.
The film was based on the real-life rape of Cheryl Ann Araujo, that occurred at Big Dan’s Bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1983.
Araujo went to the bar to get cigarettes, and after refusing to leave with two men, a third man grabbed her from behind and put her on a pool table, where several men took turns raping her. She heard other men cheering on the assault.
When the case eventually went to trial, the defense lawyers grilled Araujo about her personal life, suggesting that she deserved the attack.
Four men were convicted of aggravated raped, while charges against two other men were dropped.
Shortly after the trial, Cheryl and her family moved to Florida to make a fresh start. Three years after her ordeal, she died in a car crash at the age of 25.
Like her real-life counterpart, Sarah Tobias is portrayed as having asked for her attack, by dressing in revealing clothes, and by dancing seductively around the jukebox.
The “blame the victim” defense is ridiculous to me. I understand that they have to come up with something, so how about just saying, “My client is a scumbag who exerted his power over the victim.”
I’ve read articles about the burglary and rape of an 80 year old woman, and the recent rape and murder of a 9 month old baby girl. These horrible stories illustrate that it’s never the victim’s fault.
I hope that anyone who has been a victim of rape, or any other type of sexual abuse will tell someone they trust and be able to seek justice!