Saturday, July 28, 2007

Requim For Those Who Didn't Survive

As the recent case in Connecticut so horrifically reminds us not all those who are raped survive the immediate attack. Less thought about are those who physically survive the rape or rapes but who don't survive the aftermath.

Of those who don't survive the aftermath, there can be a temptation by observers to call these rape victims weak. Resist this temptation.

A huge part of the problem is the way people routinely talk about and to those who have been raped. The level of denial many people cling to can be as damaging to survivors as a physical assault. Sometimes it is more damaging.

Those who blame rape victims are responsible for the harm their blaming does to survivors. If a rape survivor goes back to school and finds that the rapist is being held up as a tragic hero falsely accused while she (or he) is painted as evil, that has a huge impact.

Those who mistreated any victim all share some of the blame if the victim can't endure this secondary assault. The way to honor those who haven't survived is to not be part of the problem and to not stand by silently as others are part of the problem.

The solution is to support full investigations of all reports. If you believe someone who's been accused of rape is incapable of rape then support an investigation which will, if you are right, find no credible evidence. Full, ethical investigations benefit all those who are innocent.

Snap judgments that demand that the investigation and the public turn on the alleged victim will contribute to the loss of more victims.

Our greatest requim for those who died is to do better at preventing rape and to do better at responding to rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:00 AM   0 comments links to this post


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