Sexual assault and rape are terrifying, violent crimes and represent a serious problem in society. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) approximately 1 in 5 (18.3%) women and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives. Of these victims, 37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between ages 18-24. Among female rape victims, 51% of the perpetrators were intimate partners, 12.5% were family members, 40.8% were acquaintances and only 13.8% were strangers. In spite of increased public awareness and education rape and sexual assault continue to be under-reported to the police and few perpetrators are successfully prosecuted. (Bruggen,). It is not uncommon for victims of rape and sexual assault to be held responsible by society, law enforcement personnel, and even family and friends due to widely held social stigmas based on inaccurate beliefs about rape and sexual assault; However, the reality is that rape is a violent crime committed to exert power and control and the victim is never responsible for the attack. This paper will discuss some of the reasons that victim blaming occurs, the impact on female victims, and how changing attitudes surrounding the crime of sexual assault and rape can assist and empower victims and puts the blame on the perpetrator where it belongs.
Grubb and Turner (2012) explain that rape is a pervasive social problem that occurs internationally and in every culture. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Although men can be victims of sexual assault, the vast majority of victims are women. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),...
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...pe victims to access medical and legal resources Eze and Eke (2015) express the need for universal definitions of sexual assault between the community, law enforcement, and healthcare personnel. Individuals and institutions supporting ideals that simplifies the reporting of sexual crimes by victims and advocating for the implementation of streamlined investigation and evidence collection. Additionally, implementing this process in centers staffed with psychological and medical professionals as well as police and investigators to provide comprehensive services in a single location. Although creating a more just society where rapist are held responsible for their crime and victims are supported is somewhat unrealistic today, uniting with rape victims and advocates to promote small changes is a step in the right direction that can lead to substantial changes over time.
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