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Victim Advocacy, Outline Example

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Outline
  1. UCR/NCVS Crime Statistics relating to rape:
  • actual rape statistics: in the United States, a woman is raped every two minutes.
  • 72 out of every 100,000 women in the US are raped each year
  • 28% of women are raped by boyfriends
  • 35% of women are raped by acquaintances
  • 5% of women are raped by relatives
  • less than one third of all rapes are reported to the authorities (Rape Statistics: General, Youth, College, Situations.)
  1. Strengths and Weaknesses Related to Reporting of Rapes: fewer than 5% of women who are victims of rape or attempted rape report it to the police. Reasons for this include:
  • embarrassment or shame
  • fear of publicity
  • fear of revenge from the assailant
  • fear of social isolation from the assailant’s friends
  • fear that they will not be believed
  • fear that the prosecutor will not believe them so they will not prosecute the rapist
  • mistrust of the judicial system
  • fear that their family will find out about the rape (Sampson, 2002.)

III. Definition of Date Rape As Different from Stranger Rape, Statutory Rape, and Spousal Rape

  • Date rape is a sexual assault that occurs between two parties who are engaged in the social relationship, where one party does not give consent to the sexual contact (Sexual Victimization: Date Rape, 2011)
  • Stranger rape occurs when the sexual assault takes place between two people who have never had any kind of social contact
  • Statutory rape occurs when one of the people involved in the sexual contact is under the legal age of consent in the state in which the act takes place
  • Spousal rape occurs when a sexual attack takes place between two people who were legally married, but without the consent of one of the parties
  1. Date Rape Drugs: Chemicals that are powerful and dangerous, and can be easily slipped into a drink when someone is not looking. These drugs usually have no color, smell, or taste, so it is impossible for the victim to know that they have been drugged. They can result in feeling weak, confused, and may cause someone to pass out so that the victim is unable to resist sex or defend himself or herself. There may be no memory of what transpired while drugged.
  • Rohypnol
  • GHB
  • Ketamine (Date Rape Drugs Fact Sheet, 2008.)
  • Side Effect of Drugs: Decreased blood pressure, blackouts, loss of memory, sedation, tiredness, muscle relaxation, vision problems, disorientation, dizziness and confusion, nausea, nervousness, disinhibition, aggressive behavior, fearlessness (Date Rape Drugs Fact Sheet, 2008.)
  1. The Victim/Offender Relationship
  • Some offenders are seeking to vent hostility or aggression on their victims; this allows them to gain power and control
  • other offenders appear to lack of motion, viewing their victims as objects rather than people (Sexual Offenders: Who and Why?, 2011)
  1. The Special Problems of Date Rape Prosecutions: these cases can be difficult to prosecute because both the victim and perpetrator have usually consented to be in each other’s presence, so that the issue of consent becomes the focus; often that results in a he said, she said scenario.
  • Most cases are characterized by an agreement that a sexual act has taken place, but there is a disagreement about whether or not consent has been issued by one party.
  • These cases are difficult to prosecute because it is often assumed that if a female is on a date with a male, there is an expectation by both parties that sex will occur.
  • Depending on the age, appearance, and dress of the female involved, there is frequently a “blame the victim” approach to rape cases
  • Society and jurors are frequently unsympathetic to women who claim they have been raped while on a date, because there are assumptions made based on her social standing, agreement to go on the date, and behavior that suggest to them that she was willing to engage in a sexual relationship

VII. My belief is that anyone, male or female, who claims to have been raped needs to be given the benefit of the doubt, rather than being stigmatized and resulting in the continual underreporting of this crime. Although there are certainly cases in which a charge of “rape” is fabricated, the incidence of fake reports is far less than the number of actual rapes that occur, and in fact, the number of rapes that do not go reported is extremely high because of the shame and embarrassment, as well as the fear of not being believed, experienced by the victim of a sexual assault. The shroud of secrecy and shame that keeps many victims hidden and living with a secret that causes PTSD needs to be lifted so that rape victims can feel supported and encouraged to be open about their victimhood, knowing that it was not their fault.

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