102 Iowa L. Rev. 793 (2017)
This Note looks at the historical and modern policy of several rape-shield rules at the federal and state level, and analyzes how well these rules protect victims in Iowa who decide to sue potentially liable third-parties, such as school districts. The development and application of the federal rapeshield rules indicates a strong policy of protecting victims from both invasions of privacy and threats to their well-being—while encouraging criminal prosecution and lawsuits against those responsible—by removing factors that might discourage them from seeking justice. An analysis of this dual policy shows that the laws should apply equally to victims who sue their attacker directly and those who sue potentially liable third-parties. Yet, under Iowa law, victims suing third-parties fall into an uncertain loophole in the state’s rape-shield rules, which has the potential to harm victims and discourage important lawsuits. This Note proposes a solution that involves modifying the Iowa rape-shield rules as they apply to discovery and adopting the federal rape-shield rules as they apply to admissibility of evidence.