From Sharon's Site:
I just found out a 15 year old girl on my street was raped last Friday night. I knew there was a police call and the ambulance was there. The newspaper said a 18 year old boy had been identified but he was not immediately charged. It's sad I know this girl and my immediate reaction was...hmmm...her dad was taken out of the house on a stretcher bloody on a back board last Friday night...did he walk in and catch her and she said she was forced. Last summer she had a pregnancy scare. I know because the screaming was in the middle of the street.
I hate to immediately think she wasn't a victim but a teen who got caught by her dad. It's also bad 3 neighbors have called me and said the same thing. Pretty sad.
The speculation seems to be based on the assumptions that:
1) If an alleged rapist isn't immediately arrested then the report couldn't possibly be true.
2) If a girl isn't a virgin or otherwise a "good girl" she couldn't be raped.
3) An observer's gut feelings equals evidence. And that multiple observer's who have the same gut feeling equals strong evidence.
4) Baseless guesswork about the circumstances of the alleged rape.
The first assumption is provably false. It is rare for a valid report of rape to result in an immediate arrest. During my training as a victim's advocate we were taught to inform those who reported rape of this reality so they wouldn't wrongly assume that the police were ignoring their report.
The second assumption is also provably false. Further, it is based on the assumption that the pregnancy scare came from consensual sex rather than from rape or sexual abuse against a 14-year-old girl.
Rapists often choose victims who they believe will receive this type of hostile reaction if the rape they commit is reported. These rapists depend on observers instant skepticism and/or hostility toward their chosen rape victims to help them get away with rape and to torment and further harm their rape victims.
The third assumption seeks to substitute common bigotry related to reports of rape for actual evidence.
The fourth assumption seeks to make the other assumptions seem substantial by fabricating a specific scenario that best fits those assumptions and then treating that fabrication as if it were a proven fact.
These assumptions together which are used to label this girl as a false reporter contributes to making this girl more vulnerable to other rapists since they know for sure how this girl's report of rape will be dismissed by some of her neighbors. Those who make these type of speculative claims might as well give this girl a T-shirt that says, "Rape me, nobody will believe me if I report you."
These types of comments demonstrate why so many rape survivors view reporting rape to the police as a dangerous choice. The "second rape" from respectable people can be more vicious than the first rape.
Labels: Violence Against Women