6 Things You Need To Know About How Rape Survivors Are Mistreated In America

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In 2012, then Missouri State Senator Todd Akin, made an audacious and completely false statement about reproductive biology. While his claim that an aggravated sexual assault on a woman could not result in her getting pregnant, cost him his seat, his mindset displayed how deeply insidious the beliefs are about women among the GOP, and just how little he or many in the America know about this horrible crime and those it directly impacts.

6. Sexual Assault Is Common

According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the Department of Justice and others, this type of crime is a common one. One in six females, and one in 71 males will be the victim of sexual assault at some point of their lives. The most likely perpetrator is someone close to the victim – a spouse, lover, family member, or friend. The physical and emotional health of people who have suffered this type of assault can be debilitating or permanent.

5. Getting Away With Crime

It’s not enough that it’s difficult as hell for a survivor of this type of assault to get their attacker convicted, with only about six out of every 1000 attackers ever seeing a day in jail. Many don’t report because they are afraid ashamed or embarrassed, don’t feel they will be believed, or are threatened by their assaulter.

4. College Athletes Get Slaps On The Wrist

We don’t have to look too hard in news archives to see cases where college athletes or students get no or light sentences by judges because they were wealthy, good looking and an athlete, that is, if they are even charged with a crime at all. In one of the latest cases, of a Stanford swim team member, the judge said at his ridiculously light sentencing:

A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him… I think he will not be a danger to others.

3. Celebrities Do Too

Being wealthy, powerful, talented or popular makes getting a conviction against them much harder if they do commit this crime. A few, like Mike Tyson, have served sentences. Some have been charged and never convicted because they either settled out of court, or were acquitted. Some, like our current president, have been accused and have had the accusations dropped before getting to the formal charge state, which is not an uncommon course of events with rapes.

2. Many States Give Rapists Rights

This may be one of the reasons, among many, why assault survivors don’t follow through with seeking justice for the crime against them. Most states have laws on the books that can provide rights to the rapists in the case a child is a result of his crime. It’s not enough that a woman has to endure the crime, and if she is able seek justice for the crime. But, she could also face her attacker repeatedly, if he was able to win custody/visitation is inconceivable, yet it is the law.

1. Seeking Abortion Just Got Harder

This newest set of laws intended to restrict the autonomy of women is called Act 45 – the Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act. It was signed into law on January 27. The new law was designed to close an important loophole vital to the health and safety of women, the allowance of rape in case of rape, incest or the health endangerment of the woman or fetus. It determines that a woman’s attacker can sue to prevent his victim from seeking an abortion, or for a parent or legal guardian to prevent that of a minor child, even if the attacker is a husband, or a family member of the rape victim.

For this law to continue to victimize people who have already faced a terrible trauma is immoral and completely unjust. The safety, emotional and physical well being is of no importance in the GOP’s quest to control the rights and autonomy of women. In their quest to “save the unborn” and eliminate reproductive choice for American women, they are literally destroying lives.

The day after the inauguration, millions of women marched in our nation and around the world. Part of the reason was to give a voice and to seek an end to this crime that has affected so many of us. The rights of half our population should include all the tools needed to lower or eliminate this crime and all the suffering that surrounds it.

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