Blaming Rape Victims In The United States

1540 words - 6 pages

Victim blaming occurs when a victim of a crime is held responsible, partly if not entirely, for the wrongful act committed against them. In the United States, victim blaming is most prevalent in circumstances of rape and other sexual assaults towards women. This stems from being a society that views women as lesser beings, as evidenced by unequal pay, under representation in the media, and an inadequate presence in government. When women are viewed as lesser beings and are not respected, violence against women prevails. The trend of blaming victimized women for the crimes committed against them exemplifies the broad issue of hatred towards the female gender in the United States.
It is important to understand the root of the problem before taking a look at the results. Rape is a widespread epidemic in the United States. Rape is defined as “the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercouse” (Dictionary.com). Basically, rape is non consensual sex. One in every six females will be raped in their lifetime and in a single year 300,000 women are raped. Yet only one in six rape victims will come forward to press charges (Tjaden, Theonnes). This raises the question: Why do rape victims fear coming forth? The answer, of course, is victim blaming. In theory, everyone knows that rape is never the victim’s fault, yet there are countless circumstances of women having to contend with judgement and criticism when they come out as victims of sexual assault. Earlier this year a navy midshipman reluctantly admitted to be sexually assaulted by three peers and was subjected to three days of “hostile” cross examination. At Patrick Henry college, two female victims came forward with accusations of sexual assault and rather than something being done to the assailants, the women were interrogated about what clothes they were wearing and if they flirted with the men who raped them. Later the Dean told one of the women to trust in God for justice and delete all email, texts, and calls between her and her rapist. (Dvorak). It is these accounts and so many more that exemplify the cruel world women live in, where stepping forward and admitting that they have been raped is one of the most ostracising things they can do.
Far too often nobody constructively comes to the aid of a victimized woman. For example, recently a student of the University of Missouri named Sasha Menu Courey told a nurse, a rape crisis counselor, a therapist, two doctors, and a school administrator that she had been raped but nobody did anything about her abuse. She took her own life shortly after the attack (Dvorak). Additionally, Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh charged 47 year old teacher Stacey Dean Rambold with only 31 days in prison for his rape of a 14 year old student. Judge Baugh defended his sentence by saying that the student “was probably in as much control of the situation as the defendant”. Student Cherise Morales committed suicide six months after the...

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