Rape is a growing problem in the United States, and the statistics to prove it are unacceptable. According to a survey done by the One In Four USA Organization, one in four college women report surviving rape or attempted rape at some point in their life. In the United States alone, 1,270,000 women experience a rape.
First, it is important to understand what rape really is. Rape consists of the penetration of sexual organs by any body part or object whatsoever, or oral penetration by a sexual organ, without the victim’s full consent.
Rape in college plays an extremely significant part of all rape cases. 5% of women in college or university in America experience rape. Of all those rape cases in college, only 11% are reported to the police. Of those reported, only 10% result in criminal charges. This leaves a big question: Why are none of these women speaking up about rape?
Many raped women are afraid to tell anyone about their experience because of the growing problem of victim blaming. Best explained by The Canadian Resource Centre For Victims Of Crime, victim blaming is a devaluing act that occurs when the victim(s) of a crime or an accident is held responsible, in whole or in part, for the crimes that have been committed against them.
If you don’t understand how rape can be related to victim blaming, consider the results of the following survey of 1,061 women between the ages 18 and 50. More than half of the women believe women should take some responsibility for their rape. 24% of the women said a short skirt, accepting a drink, or just plain conversation make a victim partially responsible for being raped by a complete stranger. This basically means that if you have a casual conversation with a person you have never met, you deserved to be blamed if/when they try to take advantage of you.
Though it may seem like there is no way victim blaming could have an effect on the outcome of a rape case, the police have used it multiple times to defend not taking legal measures. Take, for example, the case of an anonymous 13 year old girl in New Zealand who was raped and gang banged by a group of infamous young men calling themselves the Roast Busters. The police would not arrest any of her assailants. The girl told Jezebel magazine, “They said I didn’t have enough evidence to show, because I went out in clothes that was pretty much asking for it.”
Rape may seem like something that only happens to adults, or in far away countries, but in reality it happens everywhere, even in the Sandy Springs community. “I’ve already had four girls this year that have been violated.” said North Springs counselor Ava Butler. If you or someone you know have been raped, make sure to talk to someone. “The first thing you need to do is understand it’s not your fault,” said Butler, “the second is to tell an adult and talk to any counselor or social worker. Any situation in which you feel dominated, manipulated, intimidated, or violated needs to be reported.”