Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Perception vs. Reality of Sex Crime

In discussions of rape laws I've frequently seen people who claim to be concerned about real rape bemoan the focus on the perception of the alleged victim. They will give a reminder that for the purposes of law, you have to judge the defendant by what really happened, not by how the alleged victim felt about what happened.

This so-called reality-based judgment seeks to remove a central part of what makes a personal crime a serious crime. The impact of a crime on the victim.

By this standard we can't judge a mugging by the fear the victim had that the mugger would use the knife in his hand and must judge the case only by the fact that the alleged victim handed his wallet to another person without an explicit threat of death. That can turn what was clearly an unwilling action (giving money) into a willing action.

If you remove all emotion and emotional impact then someone who steals a parked car is no worse than someone who jumps the driver while stopped for a red light, yanks the person out of the car and speeds off with the car. Yet nobody I've heard of is demanding that victims of carjackings are out of touch with reality or are somehow delusional when they have a more emotional reaction to the crime than the person whose parked car was stolen.

When people seek to remove the emotion of the rape victim from the equation they aren't being objective as they claim, they are choosing to view the crime from the rationalization of the rapist.

A rapist says, "it's just sex. Only prudes get all warped out about it."

This view also explains why some people only view rapes with bleeding wounds or huge bruises that could only come from a severe pummeling as real rape. Without comprehension of the emotional impact of the crime, they can't see less obvious, and very personal, violence as being anything different from legal sex.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:58 AM   0 comments links to this post

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