Legitimate rape, forcible rape, substantiated rape, unwanted sex; terms all used to describe what in fact is rape, period!
It's been all over the news in recent months, and not just in regards to the military. From the release of the "Invisible War" or the instructors at Lackland Air Force Base, to the GOP activist right here in Utah and I'm sure you have all heard the most recent comment referring to how in a "legitimate rape" the body has a way of shutting down all that to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. So where does the ignorance, in regards to rape, end? More importantly, where does rape end?
With the perpetrator, that is where it ends! We can all do risk reduction but until the message is sent to all the perpetrators and would-be-perpetrators that rape will not be tolerated the problem will never go away. So why is it so difficult to prosecute a perpetrator?
Lack of, or delay in, reporting makes it difficult. Why do victims not report? There are many reasons and each one different for every victim. The victim may fear the perpetrator. The victim knew and trusted the perpetrator and, though they knew what happened was wrong, they did not want to believe it. When a victim does come forward it is sometimes too late to collect important forensic evidence. The lack of evidence does not mean that the crime did not occur but it makes it more difficult to prosecute leaving the doubt in many minds whether the rape happened. This stigma of whether the victim will be believed is also another reason for not reporting.
Let's play the blame game. Victim blaming is blaming the victim, in part or whole, for the crime that was committed against them. Victims often blame themselves by saying they should not have been drinking or they should have dressed less provocatively. But it does not stop there. Victim blaming is also committed not only as a defense by the perpetrator, but also by family, friends, co-workers and strangers. Short skirt, low cut top, drinking, flirting, history of promiscuity all are used to point blame at the person who had been violated in the most horrific way.
Rape is about power and control, not sex. It does not discriminate. It happens to the rich or the poor; it has no bias to race, sex, age or religious beliefs of the victim. It does not care what you are wearing or who you have been with.
Rape is a crime. Perpetrators shall be held accountable for their crime. I urge all law enforcement, prosecutors and lawmakers to not allow this silent epidemic to continue to rot away at the souls of the victims violated by this crime. Hear their cry and respond so they do not have to suffer in silence anymore.
To report a sexual assault call 801-777-1985 at ANY TIME.