The decision to press official charges is a very difficult one that takes much consideration. It has often been said that a rape victim goes through a second rape because he or she seems to be put on trial more than the accused rapist. Court proceedings take up a great deal of time and energy, and they create considerable anxiety.
Victims of rape report that they pressed charges because they were angry, to protect others, or they wanted justice to be served. Reasons for refusing to press charges include being afraid of revenge, wanting to just forget, feeling sorry for the rapist, or feeling as though it would not matter anyway because nothing would be done. Victims of rape can also file a civil lawsuit and sue the assailant for monetary damages. Civil lawsuits are generally easier to prove than criminal lawsuits (Wagner, 1991).