accused and, in reality, it is [the victim] who must prove [their] good reputation, [their] mental soundness, and [their] impeccable propriety” (215). This is still true in today 's day and age. Victims of rape still have to decide if they are going to report their rapes or not. They are forced to deal with the many traumatic side effects. Some of those side effects are physical, some are emotional and some are a chaotic combination of both. Also the victims of rape have to handle the sometimes crippling stigmas associated with being a victim of rape,including being blamed for their own assault. A rape stigma as defined in the Encyclopedia of Rape, “ is the negative perception of a rape survivor’s reputation, manifested in insinuations or openly expressed misconceptions that the assault was somehow ‘invited’ by the victim’s behavior”(243). Now the survivors of rape have rape shield laws to try to help protect them.
When it comes to the subject of about rape, one of the first things that needs to be addressed is in reference to who gets raped, who are the victims? Victims are now acknowledged to be “married or single, women, men, boys, or girls,... an infant or an elderly nursing home resident… gay men are [also] victims…”(Merril 262). Nobody is exempt from being raped or victimized. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), “females between sixteen and nineteen were at the greatest risk…” as they are more than four times as likely to be raped. The statistics for victims of rape presented by Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), are “ ninety out of one hundred victims of rape are female... ten out of one hundred are men… out of these numbers, fifteen percent are children.” When a child is the victim “...
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...missible. “In the late 1970s into the1980s, states began to protect alleged victims of sex crimes. Lawmakers recognized that victims experienced humiliation and embarrassment when they reported rapes and other sex crimes. Ultimately, they had a strong disincentive to report the offenses they suffered” (Rape Shield Laws). The lawmakers also recognized the irrelevancy in regards to a victim’s background, be it in deference to the sexuality, appearance, character or morality for the sake of a criminal sex trial. That means that if the evidence is not at all reasonably related to the charges, then the evidence is merely character evidence, so as not to come in at the trial. The rape shield laws were created just for this cause, to protect and shield those victims who need refuge and sanctuary from the cruelties the rapist and the community continued to try to perpetuate.
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