Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rape Victims Are Not Believed

In a recent article on Slate.com, it appears we've still got a long way to go in dealing with what far too many experience.  When rape victims are not believed, it makes their experience much worse.  It is the same for children who have been abused and molested.  If they are not believed, it makes their healing much more difficult.

If anyone understand trauma and rape is trauma, you will realize that you're often in a fog when something happens you can't comprehend.  Your mind is trying to deal with it and the pieces that are floating around.  There is no clear image and no clear account of what has happened.  I think if you study any resource out there on the subject, you'll see that many victims of trauma are almost frozen in time.

Think about seeing some scene or horrific accident.  If your mind stopped and thought about all that was going on, you would not be able to function.  It would be too overwhelming.  In that moment of trauma, your mind is trying to find a way to deal with what happened, not make sense of it.  Making sense of it is just too much to even begin asking especially at that moment.  Your mind is focused on survival, not writing a detailed account of all that happened as it happened.

In this article, it talks about a police officer who discovered that many of his fellow law enforcement officers hardly ever believed a rape victim.  The victims had a difficult time telling what happened and giving a chronological account of it. The officers did not know what to believe.  I can understand their reasoning to some degree, but any study of trauma will shed light on this.

According to a statistic the article published from the National Center For The Prosecution Of Violence Against Women, only 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false.  Unfortunately when you are not believed by law enforcement or others in our society, why on earth would anyone desire to go to prosecution. The victims are too worried that no one will believe them.

I remember back in the days when one attorney heard what I had been through.  He wanted to take it to court.  The statute of limitations had already expired but we could have pursued civil action.  While I would love to see those that abused and raped me go through hell, I did not want to relive all of it over again.  I was also afraid that no one would believe me because it was my word against theirs.  To the abusers, I am the one that was brainwashed.

We need to get to a place in society where we stop punishing the victims of rape and child abuse for something they did not do.  It was something that was done to them, but yet we make the victims out to be the bad people.  This happens over and over again.

To change this, we need to get rid of the laws where a statute of limitations applies.  We need to educate law enforcement and others how trauma works and what rape and abuse victims go through.  We need to stop allowing the perpetrators to get away with whatever they want to do because we are too afraid of holding them accountable.

Those that abused me are still living free and clear.  In fact, they think that "other child abusers" are bad, when they are no different.  They have gone to church and asked Jesus to forgive them, so in their mind, nothing they did in the past matters.  Unfortunately it does matter!

I'll most likely never hear the words, "I'm Sorry" for what I did.  I won't hear the words, "I'm Sorry For molesting you."  Many who have been through rape and child abuse never hear those words.  They suffer the rest of their lives in silence because of what happened to them.

If we truly want to enhance our society and evolve the consciousness of our civilization, we need to stop blaming the victims.  We need to hold the rapists and child abusers accountable for what they did.  Put the burden of proof on them, not on the victims!

If you would like to read the entire article, the story is Why Don't Cops Believe Rape Victims on the site www.slate.com.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly

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