Predators Are Going Unpunished

Submitted By AliciaMacchione
Words: 2173
Pages: 9

Prof. Flanagan Enc. 1101 01 December 2011 Predators are Walking, Victims not Talking Crimes of rape are going unpunished. In a majority of rape cases the woman will never come forward to press charges against her assailant. This is because victims are treated very poorly by our court systems, health providers, police officers and public opinions. This is allowing predators to walk free from their crimes and allowing them to potentially assault others. A victim is not the person who committed the crime. There should be steps taken to provide victims with the help and compassion that they need. Victims are afraid to speak out and file charges because in a high number of cases the offender is someone that they know. Buddie and Miller claim “[s]omewhere in America a woman is raped approximately every 2 minutes” (139). This statistic is stating that 30 women are sexually assaulted every hour and 720 women are assaulted every day. These are crimes that are going unpunished. Bryden and Lengnick report that “[m]ost rapes are perpetrated by acquaintances of the victim: lovers, dates, co- workers, neighbors and relatives” (1202-03). These cases are the hardest to prove in a court of law, especially if the victim had prior sexual relations with her assailant or if her assailant was someone she knew. The more you are familiar with your attacker the harder it is to prove. Bryden and Lengnick state “[n]early every decision maker in the process seeks alternatives [to prosecutions] for criminal acts between relatives, friends and acquaintances” (1215). When this happens the original charges get dropped and a lesser charge is established. A plea bargain is usually offered and the original crime goes unpunished. Patterson, Greeson, and Campbell point out that “[s]urvivors who were raped by a known offender were less likely to seek help than those raped by a stranger” (128). Victims are more afraid to come forward when they know their assailant. They harbor feelings of guilt and blame themselves for the crime that was committed against them. They feel that since they knew their assailant that no one is going to believe them. Victims fear being stereotyped based on public opinions. Buddie and Miller stated “[s]tereotypes about rape victims include the notions that she asked to be raped, secretly enjoyed the experience, or lied about it” (139). Stereotyping seems to be a way of justifying the crime. It is a way to shift blame from the assailant to the victim. Edward and Macleod say “[t]he tendency for others to reinterpret or recategorize a sexual assault […] is by saying that the rape was not a real rape or that the victim contributed to it in some way” (40). For example, she knew her assailant so how can that be rape, or she asked for it because of the way she dresses. These are just other angles for taking the severity out of the crime, and pointing blame at the victim. Edward and Macleod also emphasize, “[w]hat is apparent from these societal beliefs about rape is that they appear to have no biases in reality and yet have the potential to produce and sustain damaging biases towards the victims of sexual violence” (46). Victims are already afraid and should not have to fear being blamed, being stereotyped or discriminated against. It would be more beneficial to focus more on the assailant and less on stereotyping the victim. Victims want to avoid being stereotyped in court. Edward and Macleod believe, “[t]he more stereotypical the beliefs about rape, the more responsibility were attributed to the victim and less to the assailant” (41). The more they use stereotypical instances in court the more it looks as though the victim is the one who is at fault for what happened. Victims are not at fault and stereotyping should not be used against the victim in a court of law. Buddie and Miller state “[r]ape victims may be perceived as suffering afterwards,