Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Not So Sexy Truth.

Rape is a prevalent issue in society today.  Attackers have gotten more brazen with their crimes and unfortunately the justice here in America and just about everywhere else has not.
 In many countries reporting rape is literally to face death. If you report rape and it can be proven that you were, it does not protect you from adultery charges. In countries like Afghanistan such charges are punishable by death.
In my own case, I never had to worry about death when I reported. At least not by law. I feared my rapist might try to come after if I ever reported. I feared being stalked and attacked. My husband was very reassuring he would always protect me. My son was still growing in my tummy at the time when I finally reported. I thought about him long and hard. What kind of life would he face? How would he feel about a mother who never reported a rapist? Maybe he would still love me, likely he would, but how much more proud would he be of me knowing I faced my fears and reported? When I reported my rapist the D.A. never took my case. I was never even contacted directly by the D.A.'s office. The detective on my case finally told me nothing was going to be done. My rapist got away with it and it was not for lack of trying on my part or my detectives part. It was very disheartening. Before I reported I thought I had so much to fear about this very result. After reporting and NOTHING coming of my case (likely due to lack of physical evidence since I did not report for over a year after escaping my rapist) I wasn't near as destroyed as I thought I would be. I was proud of myself. I was upset too but, now it is on record, my side of the story. If anyone else EVER comes forward my story will help them find justice.  My fears about reporting were valid and many survivors know what I am talking about. In America rapists get away with it too often, or their sentences are never enough. The threat we face socially by reporting are not near as life threatening as our minds try to tell us.
However in other countries like Bangladesh for example, they give women who report being raped a "two-finger test"   According to The 2010 HRW Report entitled “Dignity on Trial”,  the two-fingered test is  descried as the following..."The finger test is supposed to assess whether girls and women are 'virgins' or 'habituated to sexual intercourse'." Can you imagine the humiliation?

In Cambodia if you're going to rape just make sure you have your checkbook if you get caught. Cambodia Amnesty International  did a report Breaking the Silence – Sexual Violence in Cambodia   released in 2010, which examined the situation of sexual violence in Cambodia. The report found that, in the small minority of rapes which are reported, a very common response is for law-enforcement officials, including police and court staff, to arrange extralegal out-of-court 'agreements' between the victim and the perpetrator (or their families), in which the rapist pays a sum of money which is shared between the authorities and the victim (and her family), after which the victim has to withdraw any criminal complaint against the perpetrator, and public prosecutors close the case.

In China, men rape out of boredom and over 70% of them do not suffer any legal repercussions for it.
The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence

In Denmark just pray you didn't marry a rapist. According to a study by Denmark Amnesty International.  "the definition of rape is very narrow and abusive sexual intercourse that falls outside the boundaries of rape is dealt under several other statutes which explicitly state that the person commits a crime if he engages in "extra-marital sexual intercourse" with the victim, therefore excluding married victims."

Egypt is another place you better hope you do not marry a rapist. While rape is illegal, marital rape is not a crime.  Egypt Center for Women's Rights and others suggestion the number of rape cases is over 200,000 each year.

 In Ethiopia if you are married, it's likely you're married to a rapist. Ethiopia is the home of marriage by abduction. Men kidnap girls as young as 11 years old, hide them and rape them until they become pregnant. Meet Melu Mika her story is all too common in her country. At 13years old (in 2007) she had already been forced into marriage twice.

In India rape is the most common crime against women. It is estimated a new rape case is filed every 20-22 minutes there. How many more cases are going UN-reported? According to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013  Penile and non-penile penetration in bodily orifices of a woman by a man, without the consent of the woman, constitutes the offense of rape. Before 2013 rape cases had doubled between 1990 and 2008.

 In Mexico before the millennium, rape penalties were reduced if (in the eyes of law) the victim "provoked" their attacker. Laws have since changed but, it's been a slow process. Mexico is still heavily plagued with rape cases within the catholic church organization and gang rapes.

In Nigeria, marital rape is NOT illegal.

Pakistan is NO place for women especially if they are alone. In 2013 the Council of Islamic Ideology   dismissed DNA evidence submitted in rape cases and without witnesses it was not rape.

The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Papua New Guinea did a study and found 71% of the men participants reported raping because they felt a sense of sexual entitlement.

South Africa holds the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. Authorities believe the amount of unreported child and infant rapes is ten times higher than the 67,000  reported cases in 2000 alone. IRIN The humanitarian news organization says an estimated 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa.

Sweden holds the highest number of reported incidence in all of Europe.

Tanzania rape statistics look much like those here in the U.S. 92% of perpetrators in reported cases knew the victim.

Turkey is full of victim shaming mentality. It is a commonly shared view that the way a woman dresses temps men to rape her.

In the United Kingdom rape is not seen as a gender neutral crime. It is a man committing an act of sexual violence against another human being. In other words women are incapable of rape.
According to a study done by a British Crime Survey in 2006-07 only 1 in every 100 reported rape cases led to a conviction.

Finally here at home in the United States where there is a rape allegation in the news almost daily no matter where in the country you live. Here are the stats form the U.S. Bureau of Justice :
  • From 1995 to 2010, the estimated annual rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations declined 58%, from 5.0 victimizations per 1,000 females age 12 or older to 2.1 per 1,000.
  • In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households, and who lived in rural areas experienced some of the highest rates of sexual violence.
  • In 2005-10, the offender was armed with a gun, knife, or other weapon in 11% of rape or sexual assault victimizations.
  • In 2005-10, 78% of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance
 Also see stats from RAINN.ORG

I write all of these facts because it is important for us to see rape is worldwide and very much alive.
It is not hiding in dark corners of the world, it's happening in parks in broad daylight. It's happening in your backyard and even in some of your homes.  It's happening to those you love. For some it's happened to YOU. I understand why rape goes so under reported. I applaud those who do report and support those who can't bring themselves to do so.

I know this is the not the "sexy" or appealing thing to say but, this is my blog so I'm saying it.
It is my opinion, that until we become a society that would rather side with the alleged victim who "cried wolf", instead of being wrong about a rapist, we will not see rape rates lowered a great deal. Rape culture will prevail until this happens.

Rape is NOT gender neutral, it is not something that happens only to the poor or poorly dressed.
Rapist are NOT hiding in the dark, they are hiding out in the open. Rapists are in our justice systems protecting each other. Rape is not a 3rd world country problem it's a human race problem.

This is the truth.

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