Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rape Survivor Speaks Out After Her Rapist Sentenced

The York Press has a story where a rape survivor who saw her rapist convicted encourages all rape victims to report their rapes. I'm sure her beliefs are predicated at least in part on the outcome of her case.

I've known several rape victims who reported their rapes and who, despite strong evidence, saw their rapists acquitted of all charges. Their opinion on reporting was decidedly mixed and for good reason.

The 19-year-old woman spoke out after rapist Clive Manyou was jailed at York Crown Court for six years for the assault. She said: "I'm speaking out now because I want to urge other victims to come forward and report their attackers.

"What I would say to other victims is just to stay strong, stick to the truth and have faith that you're doing the right thing." Her appeal came as The Press reported new figures showed only one-in-ten rapes reported in North Yorkshire result in a conviction. Manyou, 36, was jailed after he manipulated the woman into letting him sleep on the floor of her bedroom.

He then waited until she was asleep and raped her.

Later in the article the woman makes it clear that she got great support from family, friends and law enforcement. That's wonderful and I believe if more rape victims see evidence that they will get strong support throughout the legal process if they report their rapes and if there is a real chance that the rapist will be convicted that more victims will decide to report.

Anyone who agrees with this woman and says rape victims should report and pursue justice must back up those words with actions that don't show them to be supportive in theory and harmful to any individual or group of alleged rape victims or survivors in reality.

Holding any rape victim even partially responsible for her own rape is to make excuses for rapists. When you make excuses for any rapist or say he is only a rapist if he is convicted, you become a rapist's ally.

Unless and until an alleged rape victim has been proven in a court of law of being a liar, don't call her a liar. If you insist that convicted rapists might be falsely convicted, then you must also insist that real rape victims might be falsely convicted of lying about being raped.

Drop rhetoric that contrasts date rape to real rape. Being raped by a date, a boyfriend or someone else you know or come into regular contact with is real rape and not a myth invented by vengeful women. There are differences between date rape, acquaintance rape and stranger rape, but the differences are issues of rapist strategy and societal perceptions of the rapist and the rape victim.

Being raped by a stranger is not automatically more violent or more traumatic than being raped by someone who doesn't fit anyone's prior image of a rapist. Image doesn't make a man a rapist, actions do. Some rapists are simply better at posing as non-rapists.

As long as people don't put 100% of the responsibility for rape on the rapists, many rape victims will decide that it is safer for them to remain silent and many rapists will believe others have given them the green light.

One assault on a rape victim is more than enough.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:18 PM   2 comments links to this post


At February 07, 2007 2:36 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

I guess I'm jaded, but what that victim experienced is not the norm. I was unfortunate to have witnessed a rape, and the rapist didn't even get to trial. The prosecution decided to plead out to lesser charges, none of which having to do with rape or sexual assault. Now the girl I was going to testify for, my best friend, is battling that sick scum for custody of their child. Not to mention that even though the scum of a father is a rapist, the judge has so much bias against the mother that if he could get away with it, he would grant the scumbag full custody. This is what is the norm. Rapists get away with rape more so than being convicted. I'll believe the opposite when I start seeing it.

At January 18, 2009 8:58 PM, Anonymous Mel said...

i agree. my stepfather, a police officer, got away with raping and fathering a child on me and then turned around and tried to sue my family for defamation. The allegations were false and any sex between us was consensual, he argued.

the system is to blame for rape and the non incarceration of rapists. not the victum


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