Rape has been a problem far longer than the founding of the United States of America, yet it seems there has been no progress in defending the victims. People feel bad for the victims and understand it is a traumatizing event a person should never go through, however, it can be understood that not all people sympathize for the victims because of controversial thoughts; this includes excuses such as: x was asking for it, x wore almost no clothes, x was drunk, x just ruined young men’s lives. X meaning people of either gender, non-identified gender, etc.
Some of the thoughts are not just defenses from rapists but society accusations as well. People have tried to shame victims by placing some of the blame on them on add in various factors to try and reduce some of the blame on the harasser. A good example of this comes out of the fairly recent case of Steubenville rape offense. What had happened was Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were at a party where alcohol was served to minors. Mays and Richmond found an intoxicated, sixteen year old girl and raped her as well as took video footage of the crime. They were both charged with penetrating this girl. Here is the post of what happened in trial:
The poor girl did get support and help from such a terrifying experience but she got a lot more than sympathy. Twitter, Facebook, and I am sure a lot more places started growing with opinions of the case in distaste of the girl. The girl was in question from these posts rather than the convicted. An example comes from a Twitter blogger Michael Crook who posted, “There is no justice in Steubenville today. The girl asked for it and wanted it, in my opinion. They gave it to her. No crime. Appeal!” A hot one from Reddit blogger Rhythm825 stated, “Slut logic, I got drunk and allowed some dudes to bang me. Now I feel guilty and I’m going to press charges. Sloots gonna sloot.” So much disdain for this girl came from the fact that she was underage and drinking, but that should not justify the actions of those two delinquents and certainly should not be the cause of so much hate for this victim. Here is a blog from Tumblr which has the quotes I used and many more from three main social media websites:
Not only does it seem that some parts of society are against rape victims, but perhaps some parts of the law can be too. When a victim actually comes forth and press charges of a rape, the law takes into account more of the rape victim rather than the defendant. During proceedings, it can be seen as if most of the burden is pressurized onto the victim to prove that they were not in consensual sex. Susan Estrich makes a great point in her chapter of Rape in the book The Social Organization of Law. She states that “the proof of a rape charge-the corroboration requirement, the requirement of cautionary instructions, and the fresh complaint rule-as well as the evidentiary rules relating to prior sexual conduct by the victim, placed the victim as much on trial as the defendant.” This means that the victim must try to make sure he/she could prove that he/she gave no consent and tried to make some sort of escape/gesture to get away from a rapist. Furthermore, there is just so much a person must do in order to prove they resisted. Estrich claims that to prove nonconsent the law “requires victims of rape, unlike victims of any other crime, to demonstrate their ‘wishes’ through physical violence.” In other words, a person has no proof if they can not prove violence. Not everyone is as “lucky” as the girl from Steubenville who had the whole atrocity recorded so she had hard proof of her resistance.
Why is there so much hate from both parties is a mystery to me, but I just know this is a messed up society.