If a therapy dog helps a 15 year old rape victim testify isn't that a good thing? Kids are taught that bad guys go away. They're taught good-touch-bad-touch and they're told to tell. Then, they're told to keep telling until an adult finally listens.
In a child's world kids are taught that monsters aren't real. Children who fall have their boo-boos kissed away and are given something soft to comfort them. They're told that police, teachers and parents are the good guys and that people who rape kids are the bad guys. Kids learn that they have the right to be comforted and that no one has the right to hurt them.
That's the way it works in an ideal world. The problem is that we don't live in an ideal world. Some kids find out that monsters are real. They learn fast that they may not be comforted and they grow up scared. Worst of all they find out that a 15 year old can be a rape victim.
So, if a cute fluffy dog gives a 15 year old rape victim courage to testify what problem could there be? The idea seems innocent enough.
The objection comes from a defense attorney who says that he can't cross examine a dog. He claims that the jury that found his client guilty could have been unduly influenced by a cute dog that gave a 15 year old rape victim the courage to testify against his client.
The last time I checked juries are adults. Adults are old enough to discern the truth and base their decisions on it. They're smart enough to base decisions on facts, not fur.
Personally, I'd like to shake the paw of any therapy dog that helps a 15 year old rape victim testify. Attorneys sit next to their client in the courtroom. The article linked below indicated that the defendant had two attorneys at his side. Essentially, the defendant had four legs by his side. That must have brought him comfort or encouragement as the proceedings went on.
Rape victims aren't comforted when they testify. Yet all victims, teens and children included, have to tell their story to a courtroom full of adults. Children and teens can only hope that adults will believe them. When this 15 year old rape victim spoke, 12 people listened and chose to put the bad guy away. That's the way the world is supposed to work.
When I read Dog Helps Rape Victim 15 Testify on the NY Times it made me want to say 'Good job, Rosie!
Most of all, it made me want to say the same thing to the courageous 15 year old who testified and to the 12 who believed her. To them I say, good job.