This is a very difficult issue and has proven difficult to deal with. Both parties have sexual needs that must be actively managed. Our culture has developed a protocol of consent without violence. It has failed to provide a protocol of service that ensures continuous resolution of sexual needs thus obviating risk of any form of non consensual sexuality. Such a protocol has quite commonly existed in primitive cultures but has failed to make a transition into more complex cultures.
The most serious issue is that costs of non consent are now mostly criminal which is simply not provable with most rape cases. Was there criminal intent and was it even rape? Who can independently confirm either? With rare exceptions such as a public assault, you are stuck with two witnesses who can have all sorts of motives in the event that they do know each other.
If strangers are involved we have no doubt. Trouble is that this is rarely the case at all. This is about someone who got close enough through trust to certainly confuse the whole issue of doubt. Throw in drugs and general judgement impairment and suddenly we are dealing with a serious decay in decision control.
So how do you ever get a conviction? The victim's testimony is a solid first step and this needs to be seriously honored. In fact it needs to be enough. The act itself may need to be confirmed in some cases and ulterior motives will also need to be ruled out.
What needs to be addressed is the actual cost to the perpetrator. This needs to be dialed down. We no longer value sexual access in the traditional manner when most men and women are simply satisfying their lusts as a matter of course pretty generally. Just what is the cost to the victim? That also matters and that is a wide open question.
Thus we allow a criminal record by declaration to be established rather easily and the costs applied truly commensurate with the circumstances. If this were to become common practice, the whole culture of shame will also likely diminish making it quite easy for women to come forward. This also allows serious pathology to be quickly identified. as well..
Disturbingly low conviction rates have many explanations, but one contributing factor is the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard of evidence employed in criminal cases. This standard requires that the jury not have any reasonable doubts about the defendant’s guilt in order to convict. Doubts they have that are frivolous or hypothetical should be put aside.
Unfortunately, this standard contributes to a low conviction rate in cases of sexual assault, which is often physically indistinguishable from consensual sex. This means that a verdict can hinge solely on testimony. When two people tell stories convincingly, each story casts some reasonable doubt on the other.