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Letter to the editor: Victim blaming continues to be a problem in America

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[quote]By Amy Ahern
Guest Writer
Graphic by Ana Biccoli[/quote]

Statistically, a rape crime only makes up 7.2 percent of reported violent crimes every year. One in three women and one in four men will experience a form of physical violence by an intimate partner. Here is the ugly truth about rape. It is estimated that 68 percent of rapes are not reported and as a result 98 percent of rapists will not spend a day in prison.

Rape is the number one unreported crime in the United States and for one reason: victim blamming. The majority of rape victims are faced with the overwhelming task of reliving their attacks over and over again, when they have to report the crime and testify in court. All this seems natural for any victim of a crime. So why do we have such a high percentage of rape crimes unreported? Simple, while the victim bravely recounts every detail of the horrific attack they are also faced with these questions and comments: “Why was she out drinking so late?”, “What were you wearing?”, “I’ll tell someone next time.”, “Boys will be boys.”, “She was asking for it.”  Really, she was asking to be brutally assaulted and intimately violated most likely by a person she knew well and trusted?

The police officers, EMT officials, and lawyers, and judges, all people who are supposed to help the victims, create a feeling of humility and blame on the victim. A Montana judge, Todd Baugh, sentenced a 54 year old man to only 30 days in jail for the rape of a 14 year old girl.

According to Mr. Baugh, “The 14-year-old victim was “as much in control of the situation” as her 54-year-old rapist.” The only person allowed to carry the blame of this crime is the perpetrator. The only person involved in a rape crime that needs to feel humiliated or outcasted is the rapist. The rapist is the one who chose to ignore the cries of pain and disparity. The rapist is the one who broke the law and harmed another human being against their will. The rapist is the person who ignored the word ‘NO’. In every rape the victim was acting within their rights as, not only a residence of the United States but, as a human being.

This culture of victim blaming has also bled over into the crimes of domestic violence. It is estimated that every 9 seconds a women is assaulted or beaten and every minute 20 people are abused by an intimate partner. That is more than 10 million men and women per year, and only 34 percent  received medical attention for their injuries. In the case of domestic violence it is estimated that 70 percent of the crimes go unreported because of questions like “Why didn’t she just leave?” Victims of domestic violence often report the feeling of no escape. Roia Atmar was married to her abusive husband for five years and it was not until he attempted to kill her, by setting her on fire, that anyone realized something was deadly wrong. So, “why didn’t someone else report it?” Well, in most cases the abusive partner is very charming, and easily maintains the look of a perfect family. Roia explains that she was a very outspoken child, and people assumed that if something was wrong, she would have said something. Well “why didn’t she just leave him?” Roia reflects that she “had no idea police would get involved and care, or anybody else would care. If [she] knew [she] had the option, [she] would have left a long time ago. That was one of the main reasons [she] did not attempt leaving him. When [she] found out [she] could leave, it was after he tried to kill [her] and [she] was in the hospital.” Roia was lucky to escape alive and witness her husband recieve a 12 year sentence. When a gun is present in the household homicide is increased by 500%. Unfortunately, there are cases of domestic violence that end in death, and each one could have been prevented through educational and awareness.

The culture of victim blaming is still very prominent in today’s society, and it is the number one reason rape and domestic violence crimes struggle to receive the attention needed to solve and prevent these crimes. Victim blaming is 100% curable. In today’s world, more than ever before, people are openly discussing sexual assault and domestic violence. Thanks to multiple foundations and associations more people are becoming aware of the nature of sexual assault and domestic violence in our nation. The Joyful Heart Foundation was founded in 2004 by Mariska Hargitay. Their mission is to “ heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.” In 2013, the No More Campaign was launched to “amplify the power of the domestic violence and sexual assault movement using a unifying symbol to drive awareness and break down the barriers of stigma, silence and shame that keep people from talking about these issues and taking action to prevent them.” With the launch of this campaign it is the first time sexual assault and domestic violence have been brought together as one cause. Together we can end domestic violence and sexual assault. No more bystanding.

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Letter to the editor: Victim blaming continues to be a problem in America”

  1. nobody on May 16th, 2016 8:40 am

    I think you statement that 68%of rape is unreported because how would you know that if it was never reported. Rape is a an issue but check your facts before you make an article on this topic

    [Reply]

  2. Matthew Miklinski on May 16th, 2016 9:27 am

    The reports of rape are often considered really responsibly, like the one scandal with the Duke Lacrosse team. There was one girl who said the three of the players raped her and people, not public workers or officials, went to the fraternity house and threw bricks, protested, and forced a coach to resign, all without a single piece of evidence that the rape even happened. In the end it was shown that the rape NEVER happened but the three player’s lives were ruined forever and their coach’s life was ruined also. So please don’t say that the rapists and people who are called rapists do not get any punishments for what happens, because if they are innocent or not, they will have their lives thrown into disarray and it will all go downhill from there.

    [Reply]

  3. Mr. Right on May 16th, 2016 11:34 am

    But if the stats are unreported how can you site evidence that was never reported????

    [Reply]

  4. Just a Student on May 17th, 2016 12:20 pm

    As unfortunate as it is, pathos appeals and fabricated facts aren’t enough to trick everyone into believing in exaggerated issues.

    [Reply]

  5. Nobody on May 17th, 2016 4:08 pm

    Yes, I do understand the concern of this article; however, there are some things I disagree with. For example, when you stated the statistic of 68% of rapes going unreported, how do you know they occurred if they were never reported? Furthermore, when people say it’s dangerous for women to dress provocatively, drink too much, and stay out late at a club, they’re not necessarily blaming the victim. They’re not saying the rapist had every right to rape her and it was her fault for dressing provocatively, going out late, etc. Those are just warnings and safety precautions they should take. Saying “don’t tell me how to dress; tell rapists not to rape” is like saying “don’t tell me to lock my car door; tell burglars not to steal my money.” Also, did you know that 60% of men accused of rape turn out to be innocent? My point is rape is a horrible, awful thing to do a person, but it is not caused by society or “rape culture.” It is caused by terrible people who have been taught no morals.

    [Reply]

  6. Anonymous on August 30th, 2016 11:20 am

    I agree with 85% of what is in this article, HOWEVER the comment section is pounding this post over its 68% of rape statistic, this is not suppose to be a 100% accurate statement, due to poles ex it has been “ESTIMATED”, also this is a overestimation of this problem, not to say rape is not bad however there are nay other problems in society we should be talking about, got example crime statistics, politics, activist groups ex…. you know the larger things

    [Reply]

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Letter to the editor: Victim blaming continues to be a problem in America