Rape and Victim Blaming

There are only a few days left in the fundraiser for rape crisis centers. We’ve raised more than a thousand dollars so far, and many of your donations were matched, which raises the total even more. So far, I’m giving away an ARC of Snow Queen’s Shadow, a copy of Goblin Tales, and a cameo role in Libriomancer. If we pass $1500, I’ll throw in all three of the princess books (autographed, of course).


Almost every time I post about rape, I hear from people who believe I’m exaggerating. That rape isn’t as widespread as people say. That they don’t know anyone who’s been raped, and can’t won’t believe it’s a real problem.

Unfortunately, that sort of attitude leads to stories like this one in the Denver Post.

“The victim in a Washington state sex assault now linked to a 32-year-old Lakewood man was charged with false reporting and paid a $500 fine in 2008 because police didn’t believe her story. Authorities … reopened their case and reimbursed the woman after Colorado detectives found pictures of the victim on a camera belonging to Marc O’Leary, an Army veteran charged in two similar cases in Golden and Westminster.”

Here’s another example from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Sara Reedy was raped at gunpoint in July of 2004. When she reported it to the police, she was arrested and spent five days in jail.

“Then, in August 2005, a month before she was to stand trial on the charges, Wilber Cyrus Brown II of Dauphin County was caught by police in the act of raping a woman at a convenience store in Jefferson County. During a police interrogation, he admitted to a series of sexual assaults, including the assault on Ms. Reedy.”

Both of the above links are from ginmar.

I’ve written about false rape reports before. Are we really so determined to deny and minimize rape that we’d rather arrest the victims? I do believe there are police officers and detectives who do everything they can to catch rapists and protect the people. Unfortunately, there are others who seem more interested in protecting rapists and punishing victims for daring to speak out.

Check out these excerpts from a New York Times article last month.

  • “[H]ow could [these] young men have been drawn into such an act?”
  • “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
  • Residents in the neighborhood … said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.
  • “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?”

The victim in question? An 11-year-old girl, allegedly gang-raped by eighteen suspects who range in age from middle school students to a 27-year-old. Yet it was the men who were “drawn into” committing this crime. The victim dressed old for her age … or maybe it’s the mother’s fault. There’s plenty of blame for everyone except the people who actually chose to rape. Much like a case in Australia where “a man who had a baby with his 11-year-old stepdaughter has walked free after the judge ruled that the young girl was the sexual aggressor.

It’s everywhere.

These are just some of the links and stories I’ve come across in the past few weeks. This is why I hope you’ll consider donating to RAINN, your local rape crisis center, or another organization working to support survivors and end rape.