Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rape Survivor Entitlement

Rape survivors deserve certain entitlements. They deserve to have their reports taken seriously even if the details of what they report seem too outlandishly evil to be true or if the survivor seems emotionally imbalanced or if the purported rapist seems too nice to ever do something like that.

Many times rape survivors aren't believed or seen as credible because of the symptoms of the trauma of being raped. We more easily understand this when someone has obvious physical trauma. Incoherency is expected from a survivor being questioned as they are being prepped for emergency surgery. We expect anger from a stabbing victim who gave a mugger everything asked for.

The overused and under thought out phrase "innocent until proven guilty" is often used as an excuse to give rapists full entitlement and to treat rape victims harshly until they prove to us beyond a reasonable doubt that every detail is true down to their estimate of the exact time of the crime and the exact duration of the crime. This usage shows a clear misunderstanding of our legal system and what it really means to live in a society where you can be deemed by the government to be guilty until proven innocent.

This failure to entitle rape survivors shows sloppiness and a so-what attitude about what these people have survived. It doesn't in any way uphold our constitution or the due process of defendants.

An entitlement that rape survivors don't deserve is the right to pass on what's been done to them. Sexual molestation isn't fixed by molesting someone younger or more vulnerable. It isn't fixed by physically assaulting others or seeking revenge on anyone who seems similar to the person or people who committed rape or sexual molestation. The best way to block this entitlement isn't through lectures or saying "who cares" when a convicted sex offender reveals a history of abuse, the best way is to provide resources for those who have been hurt so they can get that poison safely out.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:00 AM   0 comments links to this post


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