Rape Remains Relevant

Lexi Chopine, Staff Writer

Think of six women you love and respect. Chances are, one of these women either has been a victim of rape or will be sometime in their life.

Unfortunately, many of their rapists won’t suffer legal consequences. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, only 46% of rapes are reported to police. There are many factors behind the lack of reporting.

First, rapists are usually not strangers. Approximately two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, 38% by friends, and 28% by an intimate person. Often, victims don’t want somebody they know to be convicted—especially if the violator happens to be someone they are close to, such as a significant other or family member.

Many feel embarrassed that they have been raped. This stems from the deep-rooted belief that if a man or woman gets raped, it is his or her fault. Even in middle school health classes, we are taught about preventing rape by keeping oursselves safe. Instead of teaching people not to rape other people, our nation teaches people to avoid being raped. Focus is placed on self-protection. Women are expected to follow certain guidelines, otherwise they are “asking” to be raped.

These guidelines range from how to dress to where to walk. If a woman chooses to dress in skimpy clothing and is raped or sexually assaulted, many consider it her fault because she was inviting such behavior. If she gets drunk , she was asking for trouble. If she refuses a man after leading him on all night, he’s only getting what he deserves. It’s easy to see why a woman might feel embarrased about being raped and decide not to tell the authorities.

Even if she does report the rape, the chances of it making a difference are very slim. According to RAINN, out of 100 rapes, only twelve lead to an arrest. Nine of those get prosecuted, five lead to a felony conviction, and only three result in jailtime. This means that 97% of rapists walk free, leaving the victim to suffer. These victims are three times more likely to suffer from depression, thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol, twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs, and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

A lot of the problem is caused by a lack of awareness. Most people shield themselves from issues such as rape, claiming that they can’t happen in such an advanced society. The facts prove otherwise—rape is still too abundant and people are trying to solve it using ineffective methods. Focus needs to be placed on teaching people not to rape and society needs to stop looking down on victims of rape.

You might just be a teenager. You might not know of any rape incidents. But you can help solve the problem by opening up discussion with you friends, supporting victims of rape and assault, discouraging peers that consider committing sexual crimes, and communicating with the police when the time is right. After all, change can only happen when individuals make it happen.