Victim Blaming As we all know, crime is everywhere and happens all the time. There are murders, theft, burglary, fraud, forgery, and then there is rape. Rape occurs more often than most think. In fact, every 98 seconds another American is raped (RAINN). Most believe that rape occurs by a stranger coming out of a dark alley but in reality, 45% of rapes are done by someone the victim knows and only 28% are committed by an actual stranger (RAINN). Although it happens often, not many people are well aware of the issues that revolve and follow the crime of rape unless it happens to them personally or someone they know.
Society has formed the idea of victim blaming which often occurs when a female is raped. Victim Blaming happens with situations more than just rape such as sexual assault and domestic violence. Situations where victim blaming occurs can range from small to extreme but no matter the situation, the victim is never at fault, therefore victim blaming should be put to an end. College campuses are always talked about to be a high risk setting for rapes. Between 20 and 25% of college women will become a victim of a completed or attempted rape (Campus Safety).
Research also says that 38% of college women had been victimized before entering college (Campus Safety). This is worrisome, being a college female freshman. College is a place where individuals are supposed to be able to feel safe and free, but when looking deeper into the rape crimes that are committed on college campuses, the safe feeling seems to simmer down. As we know authorities do their best to keep the safety of the students, there is still more than half of these college women who don’t tell anyone about what happened to them (Campus safety).
While these things can happen at any time, college parties are the perfect place for the perpetrators to attack. Alcohol use takes part in at least 50% of college campus rapes. College parties can often times be hosted by sorority houses and members. Fraternity men have been proven to be more likely to commit a rape than nonfraternity men (Campus Safety). Victim blaming often occurs in this college setting because other students and even faculty like to point out that the victim should not have been drinking or should not have been at the party to begin.
Neither of these statements make it the victims fault because 1 in 3 perpetrators are intoxicated, therefore the victim is not the only one drinking. Regardless, it is the perpetrators decision to rape, not the victim (Campus safety). College women fall prey to perpetrators not only on campus or co-ed parties but also at bars, clubs and large gathers such as concerts. Where they also fall victim to how they were dressed, how they acted or even comments like she was asking for it. These settings are often like college parties but there is more variety of age, which mean there are more people.
In the college campus setting, often times everyone knows each other, even if they have just seen them around a couple times. Compared to college, you are less likely to know many people around you in large gatherings such as bars and clubs, therefore rape is more likely to occur by a stranger and if not by a stranger, then by the person you went with. In fact, 12. 8% of rapes occur while on a date (Campus Safety). Often times in a setting like a bar or club, the perpetrator uses drugs to decrease your ability to fight back.
Most people have heard of “date rape drugs” and unfortunately, date rape drugs are easily used in this type of setting because the perpetrator just has to slip the pill into your drink without you knowing. Just like college campuses, society likes to blame the victim for being in the position in the first place or simply letting it happen to them. Date rape drugs are often used by perpetrators to sedate their victims. While alcohol is the most common drug used in rape crimes, GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), Rohypnol and ketamine are commonly used as well.
Rohypnol comes in a pill form which is dissolved in liquid, making it easy to spike drinks which is why this drug is used so often in rape crimes. This particular drug takes about 30 minutes to start causing effects. Rohypnol often results in loss of muscle control, loss of memory, trouble standing, sleepiness, etc. When someone takes this drug, they might often act as if they are drunk. Rohypnol is illegal in the U. S. while being legal and prescribed in Europe and Mexico for sleep problems and to assist in anesthesia before surgery (WomensHealth).
Ketamine is another date rape drug that is legal in the United States but is strictly used as an anesthetic on humans and animals. Ketamine is known to be a drug that causes effects quickly. Ketamine can cause slurred speech, numbness, memory problems, loss of coordination problems breathing, etc. Often times victims are aware of what has happened to them but are unable to move and eventually forgets. Ketamine comes in a liquid form or a white powder. GHB is a drug used frequently as well.
This drug comes as a liquid or a white powder also, but can also come in pill form This drug can take effect as early as 15 minutes and last 3-4 hours (WomensHealth). GHB can cause relaxation, drowsiness, problems seeing, slow heart rate, dizziness, etc. GHB is legal in the United States but is strictly used to treat narcolepsy. Although these drugs are not something people are able to just buy from the store, people still have their ways of getting them. Females can become a victim of rape or sexual assault from being anywhere but one place that many people do not acknowledge the fact that rape occurs is in a relationship.
Often times people think because a female and a male are in a relationship together or are married that it gives them the right to have sex whenever they want. Although, that is not the case and when a woman says no, that means no. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that 14-25% of women are sexually assaulted by their intimate partner during their relationship and that victims of physical and sexual abuse are more likely to be injured or killed than a victim who receives only one form of abuse. In this situation, blaming the woman may not occur directly.
Instead, people often brush this type of situation aside because the woman was in a relationship with the man, therefore people don’t count that as rape. This is something that society needs to understand. Rape can happen in relationships and it does happen often and just because the two partners were in a relationship does not make it acceptable. Street harassment isn’t often looked at as rape but victim blaming occurs quite often within this subject. Women today cannot walk down the street without being harassed on the streets by a man. Street harassment and rape have something very important in common and that is that it is unwanted.
Some people look at street harassment as a compliment, when a man yells to a woman about how she looks, but this is not okay and should not be socially acceptable. Nobody should degrade a woman walking down the streets because she is well dressed. This issue sparks victim blaming because people like to say “she knew that would happen if she dressed that way” or something else on the line of blaming the woman. Every topic always has two different opinions. In this case, there are two sides where one thinks victim blaming is not needed as to the other side where one thinks victim blaming is necessary.
The ones who think victim blaming is necessary has their reasons why they think that just like the ones who think it is wrong have theirs. Some people think victim blaming is necessary because they think that victims put themselves in these dangerous situations. Often times people blame the victim because they chose to go to that party and drink or they chose to be in a relationship with that man and she chose to not leave. Society likes to say “boys will be boys” as if this saying gives them the right to commit a rape crime and degrade a woman.
Another way victim blaming occurs that people don’t realize is teaching women how to prevent rape. Telling a woman that what she is wearing is provocative or that you should be aware of who you hang around is giving women the responsibility to prevent themselves from being raped. People victim blame because it gives them a sense of feeling that rape can’t happen to them and that something like that would never happen to them because they don’t put themselves in the position. By blaming the victim, people give themselves reassurance that it cannot happen to them because they are different.
Juliana Breines from Psychology Today says “Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. ” This statement concludes the reason why we victim blame overall. Victim blaming can be extremely dangerous in many ways. Unfortunately, 344 out of 1,000 rapes do not get reported to the police.
This is an excessive amount of unreported rapes a s as it is and making a victim feel as if it is her fault will only cause the victim to not come forward with what happened. Allowing victim blaming to occur can also be dangerous because society is allowing the perpetrator to continue what he is doing instead of holding the perpetrator accountable for what he did. Victims of rape or sexual assault often experience many effects from their tragedy. Not believing the victim, acting uninterested in their situation, and blaming them for what happened to them are all things that lead to developing emotional and mental problems. Many victims can experience PTSD from rape and suicidal thoughts.
A study done by The National Women’s Study says that about one third of rape victims develop PTSD and contemplate suicide at some point in their life (Kilpatrick G. Dean). While not all cases lead to such extreme measures, some rape victims can simply become emotionally unstable because of the effects that rape has, therefore victim blaming can be much more dangerous than we all think. With all the effects that rape victims already have to deal with, society should not be adding more to their plate. Victim blaming is simply wrong and needs to end. Society can start an end to victim blaming with a few ways. First, we can stop the rape jokes.
Being raped is serious, it happens every day to thousands of people and is not something society should find as a laughing topic. Ending the jokes also includes putting an end to objectifying and degrading women. We can also end the jokes by stepping in when we hear someone making an offensive joke about women and rape. Second, we can put the blame on the abuser and not the victim. After it’s all said and done, the victim did not ask to be assaulted and raped, it was purely the perpetrators choice. No woman is asking to be raped because of what she was wearing or what she was drinking that night, the abuser knows what they are doing.
One last way that we can stop victim blaming is by believing the victim when she comes forward with her story. Listening and responding appropriately can have a huge effect. Overall, victim blaming happens all the time in many different situations. Victim blaming can be dangerous but yet it continues to happen and will continue unless society takes steps into ending the victimization of females. Rape is a real issue and society has to start holding the perpetrator responsible and not the victim or else rapes will continue to happen, continue to go unreported while the perpetrators walk free of their wrong doing.