The Issues Posed by Blaming Victims of Rape Essay

The Issues Posed by Blaming Victims of Rape Essay

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In contemporary North America, if one were to ask almost any member of society what were the most heinous crimes a human being could commit, almost assuredly rape would be listed amongst every top five. Maybe it would even be competing for the number one spot. It is highly unlikely, absurd even, to think that any reasonable being would not find rape (or the broader term of sexual assault used in Canada) to be an abhorrent act becoming of no real human being. However, knowing this: that is, that the vast majority of citizens in North American society are in agreement on the nature of such a crime, it is all the more puzzling that many continue to harbour a mindset that gives them the tendency to blame the victim to an extent in such cases – especially in incidents where the perpetrator is male and the victim female.
Blaming the victim of rape is a well-documented phenomenon which may be subtle in its presence, such as when one makes unrealistic statements about what the victim could have done to protect themselves; alternatively, it may take the form of outright displacement of the blame for the entire crime, an example being one saying the victim was asking for it. As a result of this widespread and sometimes subtle presence in the cultural psyche, victim blaming not only finds itself in the minds of random citizens whose beliefs alone have little effect on the lives of others, but in the decisions made by those in the Criminal Justice System who find themselves involved in rape cases. As a result of the ubiquitous and fallacious attitudes towards rape that seep into the Criminal Justice System from larger society, victim blaming creates bias in a system which should be without anything of the sort.

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Steinhauer, J. (2013, October 10). 2 Face Court-Martial in Naval Academy Assault Case. The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/us/2-ex-navy-football-players-face-court-martial-in-rape-case.html

Suarez, Eliana and Tahany Gadalla. (2010). Stop blaming the victim: A meta-analysis on rape myths. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(11), 2010-2035. doi:10.1177/0886260509354503

Valenti, J. (2011, June 8). Jessica Valenti: SlutWalks and the future of feminism. madison.com. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/article_bcd1828b-7c59-5115-bee4-a7fddb9482b1.html

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