Ethics: Going Public with Rape

Should victims be identified when the crime is sexual assault?

Not in years had the Des Moines Register published anything that drew such passionate national response. For five days beginning in February, the Register (weekday circ. 210,000) ran meticulously detailed stories about a 29- year-old mother who had been abducted and raped. The series contained a graphic account of the assault and the woman's subsequent experience as a witness at her assailant's trial. To many Iowans, the most riveting fact about the series was that the victim chose to let the Register use her real name. By going public, said Nancy Ziegenmeyer, she hoped to focus attention on this underreported crime...