Concerning philosophies of morality, rape is no doubt abhorred. However, what is debatable is whether or not it is one’s duty to ensure that a rape is reported. In a particular case, one hotline operator finds herself in a dilemma that challenges her duties as a licensed social worker, with the obligation of ensuring that victims report their rape. As a part of the twenty-four-hour hotline staff at a local rape crisis center, the duty of the hotline operator is to provide the support and counseling necessary to protect the victim’s identity. As a part of the advocacy services the hotline provides, the crisis center is dedicated to aiding victims both in reporting their crimes, and in the process such an action entails. Some people call the crisis center with the intention of reporting their rapes because they feel empowered to do so. Other callers do not wish to report their rapes for personal reasons, and still other individuals are undecided as to a proper course of action. Phone operators are responsible for taking calls for the crisis center’s advocacy program, and they must also take into account the purpose of the center’s companion program. The companion program empowers the social worker answering emergency calls to obtain an understanding of the difficulties victims encounter in the process of reporting their rapes. Thus, the social worker must face the fact that women who have suffered as a result of their rape have a right to be notified of the potential traumas involved in reporting the crime. A lot of times rape victims are unprepared for the insensitive and harsh treatment they may receive from the police, hospitals, and legal system. If the hotline operator warns her of such difficulties, chances are the victim will be discouraged to report the crime. On the other hand, encouragement to report may not be in the best interest of the victim, particularly if she is too physically and emotionally weak to bear the processes because of the trauma already endured from the rape (Rothman 205-208).
Statement of Moral Dilemmas
The two sides of this situation present general ethical conflicts of interest. That is, should the hotline operator value her professional commitment, as a social worker, to justice more than her obligation the client’s best interest? Furthermore, this case poses the important und...
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...ve the individual needs of the victim that the system often overlooks. With any luck, even the most radical of feminists can understand that there are options independent of the legal system that can support women, without barriers, and without having to rely on the anecdotal word of mouth interaction. Therefore, everyone should do all that they can, as soon as possible, to ensure that such violent sex crimes dwindle. Since society and the system cannot change overnight, we must continually work towards full equality. At the same time, people such as victims of rape and their respective counselors should do their best to ensure that those criminals blocking sexual equality are brought to justice in the system they seek to change.
Frye, Marliyn. From The Politics of Reality. “Oppression.” Ca: The Crossing Press. 1983.
Rachels, James. The Right Thing to Do. NY, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2003.
Rothman, Juliet Cassuto. From the Front Lines. Ma: Allyn and Bacon. 1998.
www.americancivilrightsreview.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
www.eserver.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
www.paralumun.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
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