rape victims, first amendment, media, disclosure of victim names, rape


In this Essay, Professor Denno examines the century-long conflict between an individual's right to privacy and the freedom of the press in the context of the media's disclosure of rape victims' names. Part I briefly reviews the United States Supreme Court's primary rulings on this topic, explaining that the Court has generally protected the freedom of the press under the First Amendment Part I emphasizes, however, that the Court has left available an opportunity for a con- trary interpretation under certain circumstances in Florida Star v. BJ.F., the Court's last ruling concerning the disclosure of rape victims' names. Part I1 discusses some of the major arguments for and against disclosing rape victims' names. For example, while proponents of disclosure insist that withholding the victims' names increases the stigma attached to rape, opponents claim that this very stigma justifies why rape and its victims should be treated differently. This Essay concludes by raising pertinent questions, unanswered by past cases, that may provide additional considerations for the future. Lastly, the Essay introduces commentary on this topic by Michael Gartner, Linda Fairstein, and Helen Benedict.

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