To catch a predator
In 2014, the United States Department of Justice estimated that 34.8 per cent of sexual assault cases were reported, however, that number is believed to be higher, as the departments tend to throw out cases to appear more productive.
Studies suggest that only 2-8 per cent of rape accusations are “unfounded”, meaning that the occurrence of rape could not be proven. In Canada the statistics are higher; nearly one third of rape reports are deemed “unfounded”. Criminologists believe that these numbers are grossly exaggerated due to ill training of police officers.
Rape is classified as a traumatic experience, and an assault on the mind and body. A victim of sexual assault can exhibit a myriad of symptoms after such an ordeal, for example, memory loss. If a victim is unable to recount the exact details of the rape, then their case can be thrown out and labelled as “unfounded”. This does not, under any circumstances, mean that the rape did not occur, it just means it could not be proven.
Whenever a man is accused of rape the first response is to doubt the accuser, (I will be focusing on males as they represent nearly 95 per cent of all reports). I’m not implying that the man is not entitled to a defence, however, our treatment of rape victims is gross. The chances of a false rape accusation are so small as I’ve illustrated, yet we behave as though they are the majority. Not to mention most false rape accusations do not result in prison time. Why are we so quick to defend men, when, statistically speaking, they are very likely guilty?
The vehemence with which men and women defend rapists is sickening. Women love to say “he never raped me, so I don’t think he’d rape anyone”. Excuse me for being so frank, but what kind of defence is that? If I murdered someone and then compiled a list of all the people I didn’t murder, would that make me less of a murderer?
Don’t get me started with the men and their “where is the evidence?”. Excuse me once again for being frank, but, do rapists rape in public in front of an audience? What kind of evidence do you want? Were you expecting a hand-written confession and a video tape? Why aren’t witness statements, DNA testing and bruises not enough for you?
As prevalent as rape is, it is still hard to convict a rapist, because as a society we tend to protect rapists.
We’ve seen this type of behaviour in the Kavanaugh trials. The Catholic Society even put out an advertisement illustrating their fear that their sons might be falsely accused of rape.
Unfortunately, statistically speaking, your sons are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know and trust, than they are to be falsely accused of rape.
I wish we directed half the energy we use to protect rapists into actually fighting the prevalence of sexual assault.
We raise our daughters to believe that they can somehow avoid being sexually assaulted if they follow a set of magical rules, while we teach our sons that women are objects to do as they choose.
We do not teach little boys accountability for their actions as, “boys will be boys”, while we drive the fear of men into little girls. The only bright spot in this story is that the prevalence of sexual assault overall is decreasing. I suppose some parents are doing a good job with raising their children.