Before Antoine Dodson was on Oprah and had a song on iTunes, he was a man who was worried for his family. One night, he woke up to the sound of his sister screaming. Upon further investigation, he discovered there was a rapist in their apartment ("Antoine Dodson warns a perp"). Unfortunately, Mr. Dodson’s story is not a completely uncommon one. Sexual assault is one of the highest reported crimes in the United States. In 2006, there were over 260,000 victims of sex related crimes, and that figure is only rising ("Statistics Table" 97). Not only are there thousands of reported victims, but also, sixty percent of rapes are not reported to the police ("Rape Abuse and Incest National Network"). Physical damage from rape often occurs in the form of bruises and cuts from the attacker, as well as through sexually transmitted diseases. Mental damage however, is normally more substantial. Victims will often blame themselves for what happened. Considering the statistical evidence and the physically and mentally damage to the victims, it is hard to understand why a sex offender may spend less time in jail than a burglar ("James R. Snell Jr.").
On average, a sex offender spends between five and eleven years in jail ("Statistics Table" 97). Upon release from prison, a sex offender is more than ten times more likely to commit another sex-related crime than someone who has
committed an offense other than a sex crime. A quarter of the time, sex offenders are still on probation for their previous sex crime when they commit another sexual offense. Therefore, considering the high recidivism rate, sex offenders should be given harsher punishments.
Further support for harsher punishments comes from the mental and physical damage that sexual assault victims experience. One in every six women in the United States will have a rape encounter during their lifetime, and each one of those women will go through both physical and mental trauma. However, women are not the only possible victims of rape. Men also attribute to the rape statistic. One in every thirty-three men in the United States will experience the traumatizing event of a sexual assault during their lifespan. Any man or woman who is a rape victim is more likely to take part in destructive behavior than someone who has had no such encounter. The victim will likely suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and contemplate suicide. Also, victims are thirteen times more expected to abuse alcohol, and twenty-six times more prone to abuse drugs. These statistics show that rape is more than just a crime – it is essentially mental terrorism. Destroying the life of the victim, and in some cases leaving them pregnant, which is an entirely new situation that the victim will have to experience ("Rape Abuse and Incest National Network").
Adults are not the only category of individuals who could find themselves on the receiving end of a sexual assault. Minors account for nearly half of all...