Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rape Injuries Harder To Spot In Dark-Skinned Women

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sexual-assault injuries may be tougher to detect in darker-skinned women -- potentially putting them at a disadvantage in both the health and legal systems, according to researchers.

In a study of women who voluntarily underwent forensic exams after consensual sex, the researchers found that white women were significantly more likely than black women to have injuries to the external genitalia detected.

There were no such differences, however, when it came to more internal injuries.

When the researchers analyzed the findings in terms of the women's skin tone, they found that dark skin -- more so than race, per se -- appeared to reduce the likelihood of finding an injury to the external genitals.

This is important research since too many people are quick to wrongly declare that a physical exam has proven that no rape could have occurred. This non-racial bias is strong enough that I would be shocked if it hasn't regularly led a man who was guilty of rape to either not be charged or to be acquitted.

Once ignorant people reach the faulty conclusion that it has been proven that there was no injury then they may feel free to declare that it's been proven forensically that the alleged rape victim filed a false police report. Some of these people will then demand that this woman who "cried rape" be immediately charged and given the same punishment as if she were a rapist.

The speed at which many of these people demand punishment of someone who reported rape disproves any claim on their part that they are against rushing to judgment and that they are against all false and unfounded allegations.

This problem of identifying injuries in dark skinned women also feeds into the existing stereotypes about women of color which baselessly casts extra doubt on their testimony. That bigotry is fueled in part by articles such as "The truth of interracial rape in the United States" by Lawrence Auster which clearly misuses Justice Dept. crime statistics to make racist claims about who does and does not rape across racial lines.

Auster also claims that half of all rape reports are false citing a Linda Fairstein quote (that has since been disavowed by Fairstein) that he got from Wikipedia.

Some who have read Auster's article blindly accepted the claim that virtually zero black women are sexually attacked by whites without considering how Auster parsed the summary statistics and whether rounding down from a summary percentage effectively erased the raw data recorded by the Justice Department.

An analysis of 10 years of the underlying Justice Department crime data showed that white on black rape happens daily in the US. Yet Auster's summation turned this frequent occurrance into virtually zero.

This mix of racial bigotry and ignorance makes many people even quicker to declare that what was in reality a true allegation of rape has been proven to be a false allegation.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:17 AM   0 comments links to this post

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