Whether it be the consonance associated with the “R” and “P” sounds or the meaning behind them, rape is often a trigger word filled with explosive connotations. In order to assist rape victims in their recovery through encouraged communication, the emotional baggage that accompanies the word rape–thereby making it an uncomfortable subject–often tells the assaulted to repress their need to share. Unsurprisingly, politics play a large role in the perpetuated silence surrounding rape.
Rape cases are regularly dealt with on a state to state basis. Many states contain differing processes and laws regarding rape and/or abusive allegations. Sadly, victims of rape are often disbelieved even after seeking the “correct” courses of treatment and medical attention as is deemed by their state. Sexual assault and domestic violence are some of the biggest issues facing universities today in the United States.
“Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted” (Victims of Sexual Violence, n.d.), according to the Rape, Abuse & Insest National Netword website. Rape has no boundaries with regards to gender, and it’s effects can impact victims in different ways. Since one out of every six American women and one out of every 33 American men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, the chances of knowing someone affected by sexual violence is high (Victims of Sexual Violence, n.d.).
Victims of sexual assault are more likely to experience sexual assault again later in life. As stated by the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2010, “The percentage of women who were raped as children or adolescents and also raped as adults was more than two times higher than the percentage among women without an early rape history” (Mohammad, 2015). While a myriad of examples of sexual assault exist, they are matched by an incredible amount of unknown accounts of sexual misdemeanors which have wrecked havoc on the lives of incalculable victims.
More recently, the tragic story of Megan Rondini has surfaced and made headlines across the South. A member of the Honors College at the University of Alabama, Rondini was sexually assaulted by a young man from a powerful family in Tuscaloosa. Her story was twisted by law enforcement, eventually making her out to be a suspect to a crime rather than the victim she really was. After attempting to seek treatment and support and transferring schools, Rondini ultimately committed suicide. Most frightening, many are not surprised by stories like Rondini’s. She is simply one more lost life to add to the list of victims of sexual assault. Read here for more details about Rondini’s story.
Sadly, since each state has different laws and regulations, some of which have been around for fifty plus years, regarding sexual assault, many victim’s options are limited. In a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, State v. Way, women in North Carolina are unable to retract consent once originally granted even if intercourse or actions become violent or change in unexpected ways. As Senator Jeff Jackson stated, “North Carolina is the only state in the country where no doesn’t really mean no” (Ryland, 2017). Yet, since the Senate Rules Committee has decided to freeze any progress while the General Assembly session grinds to a halt, it is unknown and unlikely that any advancement will be made to this bill within the remainder of the two-year legislative session.
There are innumerable accounts of rape all over the world. More can be done to help decrease the prevalence of rape and end sexual assault. Whether it’s speaking up to stop and correct common phrases such as, “That exam just raped me,” signing petitions to encourage the employment of SANE’s (sexual assault nurse examiners) in all hospitals across the country, especially those nearby schools, or knowing and understanding the best methods to help yourself or others who may have experienced sexual abuse, everyone can and must do their part to preserve and value the basic human rights of every individual.
Baker, K. J. (2017, June 22). A College Student Accused A Powerful Man Of Rape. Then She Became A Suspect. Retrieved June 25, 2017, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/how-accusing-a-powerful-man-of-rape-drove-a-college-student?utm_term=.syLbn5ozn#.atnbaQeEa
Mohammed, F., Loud, P. I., Lesotho, H., Blogger, G., Girls, C. F., & J, P. (2017, May 23). The Repetition Compulsion: Why Rape Victims Are More Likely To Be Assaulted Again. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.girlsglobe.org/2015/08/04/the-repetition-compulsion-why-rape-victims-are-more-likely-to-be-assaulted-again/
Ryland, A. J. (2017, June 23). In NC If a Woman Revokes Consent, It Still Isn’t Rape. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://secondnexus.com/social/nc-woman-revokes-consent-still-isnt-rape/
Tracy, N. (n.d.). Rape Recovery: How Do I Get Over Being Raped? – Rape – Abuse. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/rape/rape-recovery-how-do-i-get-over-being-raped/
State v. Way. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://law.justia.com/cases/north-carolina/supreme-court/1979/51-1.html
Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence