“We live in a society that teaches women to be careful not to get raped instead of teaching men not to rape”. According to the Legal Dictionary the meaning of rape is a criminal offense defined in most states as aggressive sexual relations with a person against that person’s will. In the beginning of time for a man to be convicted of rape the victim had to had fought against their assailant, but not have succeeded. It was also said that a man could have forced sexual relations with a woman if she were his wife. Now the laws have change over time, there are some places that rape is punishable and others were is not. In my eyes it should be punishable everywhere, no matter who the rapist is, their social status, their age, or their gender, rape is a unforgivable thing to do to a person. There is a term used in the laws against rape in the United States and that is “unlawful force” which means act of force done without legal justification or excuse. The fact that anyone that reports rape to the law could get their case dismissed because they found an excuse for the act is disturbing in many ways. Women are scared to report that they have been raped since most times they do the response they get is: “well dressed like that, you were asking for it”, or “if you were drinking or with drugs in your system, then how could you expect this not to happen”. Instead of finding an excuse for the rapist, which is totally wrong, why not help the individual who had enough courage to report that they have been raped, knowing that the law enforcement would probably say the things mentioned before. Rape is a crime of power, control and violence no one “deserves” it.
Something important in cases of rape is consent or rather lack of consent from the victim. There have been many cases where if the victim said “NO” the case is most likely dismissed because in their perspective the victim should have fought their attacker if they really did not consent the act. Nonetheless a thing that society should learn is that no stands for no and yes means yes. When a person tells you no, you have to learn to accept it, “But rape is not the presence of no, is the absence of yes” said by a protester in anti-rape protest. Why do we as a society see the word yes more powerful than no, the difference between having consent to do something and forcefully doing it are those little words, yes and no.
There was a case not long ago that was all over the news and social media. That was the Turner v. People case. On the night of January 17, 2015 Brock Turner raped a young woman behind a dumpster, while she was unconscious and inebriated. This case caused so much social conflict, because of the sentence given to Turner by the judge. On that atrocious night the victim ‘Jane Doe’ was in a party with her sister, and she being a young adult with legal age to drink she did just that. During that party Turner made inappropriate advancements toward Jane Doe’s sister and other girls as well. Jane Doe was drunk and about to pass out, could not form sentences barely even words when Turner saw her. She is believed to have collapsed of the alcohol in her system behind a dumpster, where Turner found her lying unconscious. Now at this part he could have asked for help from someone to bring her to a warm and safe place. But then again those were not the first thoughts that popped into his mind. He did appalling things to that woman, she was found in a disheveled way with pines and twigs around her. What is most appalling is that Turner raped her while she was unconscious and would not have stopped if it had not been for two students that while riding their bikes noticed that the girl was not moving while Turner sexually assaulted her. When the two students yelled at Turner telling him to stop, that she was out cold he got up and ran away. Luckily the students ran after him and stopped him from escaping. The girl woke up in a hospital with doctors and nurses surrounding her and evaluating her body while she was naked. She did not hear from the hospital that she was raped, but rather found out one day while reading the news on her phone. Imagine what it feels like to get the news that you were raped by an anonymous person the same time the world found out.
She took eight months to come to terms that she was a victim of rape and the other months were spent trying to get the case to court even though there was a possibility that she could lose the case completely since she did not remember much about that horrifying night. When trial came many things happened, but what shocked everyone was the decision they made of Turners’ fate. He was convicted of three felonies that in total were supposed to be fourteen year in prison, then again he was only give six months of county jail for which he served only three.
Now when the law and the people who enforce the law made these decisions they were only thinking that he was a young man, with a bright future who made a mistake. Only it was not a mistake, it was not something he did because he was under the influence of alcohol, it was a decision he took that according to him only ruined his life. He is not wrong he did ruin his life, but he also ruined that girl’s life. When we see news of an athlete accused and convicted of rape, the first thing they say is “he had such a bright future and now his career is ruined”. We never hear “that girl’s life is ruined”, “because of this event she will never be able to walk in the dark alone”, “she will be afraid of anyone who touches her even if is the most innocent of touches” or “her trust in anyone will not come easy after this”.
Victims of rape are constantly blamed for their rapes, we live in a society where rapist are proud and victims are humiliated. Why is it that the victim often worries of their rapist reputation or their humiliation, when they should be worried about themselves? Why do we live in a society were as I said at the start of my speech that we teach girls not to get raped? Why it is that society blames the choice of clothing, how much alcohol the victim had in their system instead of the rapist? So many questions and no answers, except the maybes that we use to answer them. These questions should not even exist, but we live in a world where they do, because without them it would mean that we all agree that it is the victims fault.
There are many ways to help someone recover from such tragedy. Many would suggest a support group or counselor or therapist, which are all good options. But many of the victims of rape sleep when the sun comes up afraid of sleeping in the dark. Others fall asleep crying and wake up crying, they cry so much that they have to use cold spoons in their eyes, so they stop getting swollen. Many do remember that awful experience and re-live it time and time again. Some even fall into depression because of the actions of another. What they really need is a rewind back into that night and then be ready to fight against their attacker.
If there is one thing that could be deemed as unforgivable other that murder, it would rape. What is only a couple of minutes of fun for the attacker is a lifetime ruined for the victim. Many of the rape cases that are reported only some get justice, there are others in which the rapist walks out free and does it again and again until another person has just enough courage to report it to someone. It does not matter how much evidence there is against a sexual offender, a rapist, what matters is what we do about it and if it continues the way it is going our society could end up with every rapist walking around freely and no victims coming forward, because they see how the law fails them time and time again.
Buncombe, A. (2016, September 2). Stanford rape case: Read the impact statement of Brock Turner’s victim. The Independent, Retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/stanford-rape-case-read-the-impact-statement-of-brock-turners-victim-a7222371.html
Author, B. L. Rape Laws, Defenses and Penalties | Criminal Law. Criminal Defense Lawyer, Retrieved from: http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/rape.htm
People v. Brock Allen Turner (5/9). (2016, June 10). Los Angeles Time, Retrieved from: http://documents.latimes.com/people-v-brock-allen-turner-59/
10 U.S. Code § 920 – Art. 120. Rape and sexual assault generally. LII / Legal Information Institute, Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/920
Rape legal definition of rape. The Free Dictionary, Retrieved from: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/rape
facebook.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2018.
law.cornell.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2018.