Victim Blaming: Why Rape Usually Goes Unreported
Rape is a serious crime that should never be taken lightly. Bouncing back from the pain and trauma caused by such an event can be very difficult for victims. The process becomes even harder considering that plenty of offenders are held accountable for the suffering they have caused. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault in America every year. Unfortunately, around 68 percent of these cases go unreported to the police.
In most situations, victims prefer to keep quiet about their assault in fear that they will be the one blamed for what had happened to them. A report published by USA Today goes into further detail regarding this pattern. As pointed out by Amber Stevenson of the Nashville Sexual Assault Center, victims are often shamed by their communities for any behavior that they perceive as having contributed to why the abuse has occurred. Stevenson calls this “victim-blaming” and it usually takes form in statements like “she was asking for it” or “she didn’t fight back, she must have wanted it”. Victims are also wary that lack of physical evidence in certain assault situations make for a weaker case when approaching law enforcement and leave them open to more scrutiny.
As a result, rape victims will need a strong advocate that can pursue justice on their behalf. This is where proper legal representation comes in. According to the website of McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm working with an experienced lawyer to handle rape and other sexual abuse cases can help victims hold their attackers accountable through the right legal channels. When this happens, victims can also begin their healing process without having to worry about the possibility that they might encounter the offender in the future. With the help of a sympathetic and qualified attorney, victims of sexual assault might be able to find the closure they need to move on from such a traumatic situation.