Unbelievable: How Narrative Can Help Vulnerable Narrators Overcome Perceived Unreliability in the Legal System
This article examines how advocates can champion vulnerable narrators’ truths. First, advocates must prime the audience by educating the audience about the ways the vulnerability manifests; this process helps to allay credibility questions. Second, advocates must reframe seemingly untrustworthy behavior by showing how the behavior is consistent with someone in the vulnerable narrator’s situation. Third, advocates must create what fiction writers call verisimilitude—a sense of reality—by including concrete details that logically fit together in the legal narrative. Finally, advocates must label the tactics commonly used to discredit vulnerable narrators so that the audience can see those tactics for what they are.
Cathren Page, Unbelievable: How Narrative Can Help Vulnerable Narrators Overcome Perceived Unreliability in the Legal System, 27 Legal Writing (2023).