Friday, November 14, 2008

Indiana Working On Rape Prevention

From the Chicago Tribune:

For some women, and a few men, the pressure also raises the threat of rape and other sexual violence, experts said as the state prepared this week to hold 10 regional forums aimed at uncovering the social attitudes and other factors that contribute to sexual violence and finding ways to prevent it.

"In crisis and economic uncertainty, sexual violence tends to increase," said Abigail Kelly-Smith, director of the Rape Prevention and Education Program at the Indiana State Department of Health. People left desperate or feeling powerless from the loss of a job, a natural disaster or another situation beyond their control at times try to feel powerful in other ways, Kelly-Smith said Monday. [...]

Such crises contribute to nearly one in five Indiana women experiencing some type of sexual assault in her lifetime, and one in eight reporting having been raped, according to a survey last year for the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

These forums are important, but likely won't get the attendance that forums related to the release of registered sex offenders get. That's a shame since overall prevention is better than waiting until after a rape or series of rapes have been committed to try to prevent future rapes from being committed by only a limited number of individuals.

These forums bring many different groups together who otherwise might never meet to discuss sexual violence. That's both good and challenging.

The article mentions sexual violence as compensation for a feeling of powerlessness related to economic stress, but this feeling of powerlessness and compensating for that feeling through rape can come from other sources as well. Many of those who gripe about how most women rape victims play the victim talk about the powerlessness of men against cruel women who flirt and then say no.

No matter where the rapist's feeling of powerlessness came from that stressful situation will be the same after rape as it was before. Only now the rapist has to worry about being rightfully accused of rape in addition to all of the worries that existed before committing rape.

Changing attitudes toward sexual violence -- and placing the blame with perpetrators rather than victims -- takes years, if not generations, said Joan Knies, a community education specialist with Crisis Connection Inc., a program helping victims of sexual and domestic violence in five southern Indiana counties.

This view is so important. Many of those who rant about "rape victims" deny most rapes or talk about "deserved" rapes with no recognition that they are at best contributors to rape.

This includes those who defend coercing others into sexual contact since coercion is a way for a rapist to indulge in the delusional thinking that he (or she) is both innocent and all powerful.

When my boyfriend coerced me into being vulnerable enough for him to force himself on me and have me feel responsible for failing to stop him, he won in the short run, but in the long run he lost and could never regain what he wanted from me.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:48 AM   0 comments links to this post


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