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Treatment of Rape Victims

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Ashley Bland

on 18 April 2014

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Transcript of Treatment of Rape Victims

Mistreatment of Rape Victims
By Ashley Bland
According to rainn.org:
*Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.
*An estimated 60% of rapes are never reported

That's approximately 237,868 rapes a year.
Of those rapes, 80% of victims are under thirty, and 44% are under the age of 18 (RAINN).
The Issue
Rape is a heinous and malicious crime that affects people all across the world; but when victims attempt to report their assault, they are often re-victimized by both society and the legal system. The very people that are supposed to protect the victims often traumatize them further. But what can be done about this issue?
Rainn.org’s statistics state that individuals who are sexually assaulted are:
*“Four times more likely to attempt suicide”
*“Six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder”
*“Three times more likely to suffer from depression”

Mistreatment of Victims by Law Enforcement Officers
Some negative reactions towards victims include:

* threatening victims with criminal charges for perjury (Lennard)
*threatening victims with polygraph tests to prove they aren't lying about their assault (Applegate 903)

"There was this one instance where the [police officer’s] comment was, “Oh, she can’t be raped, she’s a whore.” Everyone laughs. I’m sitting there in amazement. The officer stopped laughing and looked at me and said, “Oh, sorry, I forgot you were here.” (Colorado, urban)" (Applegate 931)
Negative Police Attitudes
Rapists are Treated with More Sensitivity than Their Victims
"Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons was raped by four boys at a party outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. After months of torment and scorn from schoolmates who called her a “slut,” she hanged herself on April 4" (Valenti).
"Last September, California - 15 year old Audrie Pott of California - raped while unconscious at a party, also humiliated when pictures of the assault were passed around—killed herself just eight days after the rape. Three 16-year-old boys were arrested in California in April on charges of sexual assault" (Valenti).
Society's View on Rape
The young boys who raped these two girls were so proud of their attacks that they passed pictures and videos around to their peers. In today's culture, many young people seem to have the attitude that there is nothing wrong with rape, and sometimes they even consider it to be humorous.
Fig. 1 "Riot Police Officer Sanchez, Oakland Riots," by Thomas Hawk.
Change of attitudes is required! But what can be done?

Holding protests/rallies
Newspapers printing stories about these rallies
Newspapers printing stories about realities of reporting
Know the facts
Be open minded!

Even if this does not change their personal beliefs and opinions, at least more victims would feel safe reporting.
Necessary Change
Mistreatment of Victims by Law Enforcement Officers
When victims report a rape or sexual assault, they can be faced with having their reports labeled "unfounded" by the assigned officer (Applegate 919). A "police sometimes unfound for “three illegitimate reasons: a police officer does not like the woman, feels she ‘asked for it,’ or thinks her case will not stand up in court.”" (Applegate 919). When a report is labeled "unfounded," it means that the complaint was not truthful. This is just one of the many reasons why some victims are afraid to come forward with their assaults.
"The first SlutWalk in Toronto, ON, April 3, 2011," by Anton Bielousov
Works Cited
Applegate, Brett Erin. “Prior (False?) Accusations; Reforming
Rape Shields to Reflect the Dynamics of Sexual Assault.”
Lewis and Clark Law Review 17.3 (2013): 899-930.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Valenti, Jessica. "In Rape Tragedies, the Shame is Ours."
Nation n.d: 10. Readers' Guide Full Text Mega (H.W.
Wilson). Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
RAINN. "Sexual Assault Facts." How Often Does Sexual
Assault Occur? Rape, Abuse and Incest National
Network, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014. <http://

Works Cited
Hawks, Thomas.
Riot Police Officer Sanchez, Oakland Riots,
. 2010. Flickr. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Bielousov, Anton. The First SlutWalk in Toronto, ON, April 3,
2011. 2011. Wikipedia. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Lennard, Natasha. "Report: DC Police Treatment of Sexual
Assault Victims “traumatizing”." Salon.com. N.p., 24 Jan.
2013. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
Ali, Saida. "Police Ignorance on Rape is Appalling." Capitalfm
Blogs. N.p., 5 Nov. 2013. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
The Issue
Although there may not be ways to change every single person’s attitude towards rape, if people were to hold rallies and protests against the unfair treatment of rape victims it is possible that this cause would be picked up by the media. When the media spreads the word of these events across the country, officers and lawyers would be forced to change their wrongful treatment of the victims of sexual assault.

Mistreatment of Victims by Law Enforcement Officers
When a person is sexually assaulted, if they plan on reporting, they first go to the police. By unfortunately, there are some police officers who do not believe rape is a real crime or that it shouldn't receive special treatment from the law. How is a woman or a man supposed to feel safe reporting when they are just belittled or harassed by officers?
Society's View on Rape
"Boys will be boys"
"They were just having fun, they didn't mean any harm"
"Don't report and ruin his life over one mistake" and "he has such a bright future"
"Well what was she wearing?"
"I've seen her flirt with him before"
"She was drinking"
"She lead him on first"
Common excuses:
Full transcript