-An 18 year old girl is gang raped by 5 men including her father in a public park. The judge says he acknowledges what happened but can't do anything about it do to a "lack of evidence". The 5 men go free.
-A woman who was sexually abused by a man she works with for 10 years is contractually forced to continue working with him because the judge sides with paper documents over the life of a human being.
-A man who is known to have raped over 30 women, many when they were under the age of 18, continues to go free today do to something called a "Statute of Limitations" -which is like an expiration date on rape.
How the Judicial System Would Like Rape Victims to Handle Their Case:
*All of this contingent on SURVIVING a Rape, because not all people do...
1. You must be an investigator to your own murder.
2. Having been raped you must immediately go to the hospital so that DNA seamen samples can be taken in a rape kit to prove sex occured. Any other signs of injury must also be documented. Do NOT let the police throw away your rape kit.
3. You must then immediately give a statement to the police in detail of what happened/who committed the crime.
4. It is strongly suggested you then see a therapist to further legitimize that you are suffering psychologically from signs of rape.
5. You should take a lie detector test to further legitimize your testimony.
6. You should look for witnesses who may have seen the crime.
7. You must stand testimony in court and describe what happened in detail before a jury and a judge.
The Reality of Rape:
How a person handles a rape as an individual is contingent on several things:
1. Who you were raped by
2. Your psychological state of being
3. Your understandings of rape and rape culture
4. Your support structure and external influencers
5. Your instincts for safety
6. Age of the rape victim
#1 Who you were raped by.
If it's a stranger more people are likely to come forward. If it was someone you were in a relationship with, it is less likely. If it was a relative it is even MORE unlikely. If it was a police officer or other authority figure in power, most wouldn't even bother.
#2 Your psychological state will mandate how you persevere or don't persevere after the fact.
There was a 15 year old girl who slept with her boyfriend of the same age. She committed suicide just before her 16th birthday because she felt she was a sin and had "dirtied" her existence. It was not rape. I know someone who has clinical depression and has contemplated suicide since elementary school. She did not commit suicide after being raped repeatedly by her boyfriend -although she did seriously contemplate it.
You cannot guess how a person will handle being raped. How they will react or what they will do.
#3 Your understanding of rape and rape culture.
Some girls/women after being raped don't want to come forward because they feel guilt, blame, or shame is upon them. This is largely do to society's handling of victims -with questions of suspicion rather than statements of support. Rape victims also aren't stupid. They know that just because they go forward with opening up about a rape, doesn't mean justice will prevail for them.
#4 Your support structure and external influencers.
After being raped, a person might first want to confide in someone they trust because they might not know how to handle the situation. If there isn't a family member, friend, or authority figure they can trust they might not confide in anyone and just keep the event a secret. On the other hand if they confide in the wrong person and that person tells them to just keep quiet, they might then follow that persons "advice".
#5 Your instincts for safety.
I know a girl who was raped and then threatened repeatedly online by her rapist. He said if she got a boyfriend or told anyone what happened that things could "happen again". Many people out of fear of re-occurrence might not come forward. Then there are other circumstances involving feeling safe. For example, if a person is raped by a police officer they might also not feel safe confiding in a police officers at a department.
#6 The age you were raped.
Age is probably one of the more significant factors in whether or not a person comes forward. Especially in the case of pedophilia, it can take a child years o even decades to come forward -which is why a statue of limitations on pedophilia can become very convenient for pedophiles. Someone could prey on many children for years never being held accountable.
(Statue of Limitations for raping a child was 3 years in this case...)
There's also the state of your being when you're a kid. Here's how I would have handled being raped throughout my own years:
-Age 8 and below:
I wouldn't have known what sex or rape were. I probably wouldn't have told anyone for at lest a decade. I don't think I would have committed suicide, but the psychological damage would have been devastating to my personhood.
-Age 9 through 12:
I read the definition of the word rape in the dictionary when I was 9 years old. So at least at that age I had heard of the concept. I STILL wouldn't have known how to handle it. I might have confided in my step-sister who was a month older than me, but who knows how she would have handled it being the same age.
-Age 13 through 18:
As a teenager, already struggling with depression and contemplating suicide at 14, I might have ended my life. People I could have confided in at that time include my step-sister and my mom. I wouldn't have felt comfortable opening up to my friends about it. It STILL would not have occurred to me on my own to go to the police.
-Age 19 through 25:
It doesn't seem like you're "as young" when you're in your early 20's, but in a lot of ways you still are. I STILL wouldn't know exactly what to do. I would have had more people to confide in at that time. Sisters, step-mom, mom, therapist, friends... But it probably would have taken me a while to come forward.
-Age 26 to Now:
Over the past couple years I've become more informed about rape in general. That is partially do to the discovery that 4 of my relatives and 3 of my friends have been victims of rape. It's also do to a change in the world pushing for greater understanding and compassionate aid for those who have been victims of rape. Now if I was attacked I would push myself to go, with a friend, to the hospital and police station. Even then after months or years of trial my attacker could still end up going free.
The good part of today's world is more women are encouraged to come forward with past abuses and are often shown great support for those efforts. The sad part of today's world is rapists and pedophiles often go free and continue to destroy and prey upon those around them.
The problem with the "Justice" System is that they only care about following mandated procedures. NOT holding a criminal accountable. NOT preventing future crimes from occurring. NOT seeing justice for the victim. Case in point:
-Step-father rapes his 15 year old step-daughter.
-He maintains his innocence and says nothing happened until the DNA comes back positive.
-He is sentenced to Only 9 months in jail.
-The court did NOT notify his previous wife of his conviction so he still has access to their children.
-He is now registered as a sex offender.