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.”
- More than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries.
- University of the Pacific in Stockton “acknowledged it engaged in ‘victim bashing’ to defend itself…” in a 2008 rape case involving three basketball players.
- Today a female member of the military is more likely to be raped than to be killed by enemy fire. She is twice as likely to become a victim of sexual assault as a service-member than as a civilian.
- Over 100 US male soldiers have claimed they were sexually assaulted in 2010 while serving in the military. The Pentagon has warned the number of victims is likely to be much higher due to fear of reporting.
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.
April 25, 2011 @ 11:41 am
The prevalence of rape and a rape mentality in fiction is one of the most disturbing things to run into. I once read a popular urban fantasy novel that had a rape scene involving males who were forced to ejaculate magically, but somehow what had happened was okay because they weren’t nice men. The utter callousness of the paragraph was breathtaking, and the worst part, to me, was that it had been written by a woman.
April 25, 2011 @ 9:56 pm
The story you cite about the 11-year-old CHILD happened in a town where I used to live and in the state where I still reside. All such news stories of victim blaming make me want to scream, but this one is especially heinous. It makes me so incredibly sad that this still keeps happening. It seems that the the harder women and men work to better the treatment of women, the harder others work to tear that down and “keep women in their place.” I don’t understand it.
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2011 @ 8:20 am
I don’t get it either. I tell myself that we’ve made progress, and the outrage and anger over such stories is a good sign, but there’s still so much work to do…
April 26, 2011 @ 1:59 pm
Much in the manner of Take Back the Night, there’s a very in your face movement starting up to specifically tackle victim blaming regarding sexual assault, particularly in the courts, police and media, and to try to bust myths about sexual assault and create a better dialogue. It started in Toronto, but satellite protests are also going on in spots in the U.S. and elsewhere. The incident with the 11-year-old victim is one that these folks are targeting: http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/