US Rape Culture is a Large Part of Why I Am Pro-Choice

Republicans say that it’s important to investigate how this happened rather than providing an abortion.

Here’s why it happened:

Republicans response to this situation is that they just want to prevent it from happening again. How? Rape is currently the most underreported crime in the US, as well as being the most prevalent crime. What’s worse is that even if it is reported, only a fraction of these reports will lead to an arrest. Just over half of those arrests lead to conviction, and precisely half of the arrests will lead to incarceration. This creatures a perfect melting pot for rape culture.

What’s further is that Republican run states tend to have higher crime rates than Democratically controlled states. While the FBI cautions us from drawing conclusions based on a single demographic, it is still a pretty damning pattern. How do Republicans expect to prevent rape, when we as a nation cannot even get a majority of rape survivors to even report that a crime has been committed?

Cameron Kimble of the Brennan Center for Justice cites the following reasons why rape survivors do not report: fear of retaliation, fear that police will do nothing, or that they felt it wasn’t important enough to report.

I’m going to break down each of these separately.

Fear of Retaliation

An older article in the Huffington Post (2013) tells us that the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) by the US Census Bureau did not focus on privacy for the victim. This is a problem because according to a 2015 report, 80% of rapes were committed by someone the victim knew. What’s further is that the FBI report from the same year as was analyzed from the NCVS (2010) had less than half the reports on record (as collected from local law enforcement) as the NCVS. The CDC had nearly 10 times the number of reports as the NCVS.

Fear the Police Would Do Nothing

According to a 2018 article from the NYU Dispatch talks of problems within the Baltimore Police Department. Those who had reported sexual assaults stated that officers questioned them in a way that put the blame on them, the victims, rather than the perpetrators, and they didn’t even appear to investigate the case in any way.

The article also refers to reports from a clinical psychologist in Montana, regarding similar stories from her clients about their experiences in reporting sexual assaults.

The way that police officers treat sexual assault victims when they report is a large part of rape culture and allows rape to flourish.

Feeling It’s Not Important Enough to Report

I remember watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU where one of the characters (I believe it was Olivia Benson) reacts to someone catcalling. She is told that it is nothing. No big deal.

I’ve read articles, heard Ted Talks, and watched videos on Youtube that all say the same thing–it’s no big deal. It happens everyday. Catcalling, mansplaining, the manspread on the bus. Women are told to deal with it because it is so common place.

Yes, these are all sexual harassment scenarios, and I’ve experienced all of them at one time or another in my life. But, surely, sexual assault is different, right? Well, no.

I was sexually assaulted during my first year living in Los Angeles. Before I get any further into the story, I want to explain that I was not raped. And, I cannot speak to why someone would say that being raped isn’t important enough to report. I can only explain what happened to me, and why I didn’t report it.

My Story

It was my first year in California, nearly a decade ago. I was living in the USC and not in the greatest neighborhood. This was because I didn’t have a lot of money when I moved here, and that was where I could afford a room. I also didn’t have a car at the time.

In 2013, I moved to Los Angeles to attend a counseling program, and I worked at a school with children with special needs. I would leave early in the morning and take the train out to work and then to Mount St. Mary’s College near downtown LA. Then, I would have to either take another bus or walk the remaining home. I would literally take the bus up a hill, about .1 miles, so it wasn’t a long walk, but it wasn’t the safest street, especially late at night.

There was rarely a night that I could get home without being harassed by men.

The Night of the Assault

One night, I was walking up the hill, and I was approached by a man on a bicycle. I do not remember if he harassed me that night, but I know that he had harassed me at least once before. Other than that though, he was a stranger–I was among the 20% that did not know their attacker.

I do remember that he came up behind me and slapped me on the rear end.

I would not doubt that there will be some people screaming here–that wasn’t sexual assault! That was nothing!

Well, no. That was sexual assault, and it wasn’t nothing.

At some point during that first year (not sure if it was before or after the incident), I was taught at my place of employment that an assault is any time a person puts their hands on you without your permission or consent. I most certainly did not consent to a stranger slapping me on the ass while I was walking home from class. Secondly, the location of the slap and prior incident or incidents make it sexual in nature.

I Didn’t Know it Was Assault at the Time

At the time, I didn’t know that it was assault. I thought the police would just have laughed at me. Honestly, I still think they probably would have. That’s why I didn’t report it.

But, the problem isn’t just that I didn’t believe the police would take me seriously. The problem is that I know a lot of people wouldn’t. A slap on the ass is so common place that it’s almost become acceptable.

It’s like the catcalling, the mansplaining, and the manspread. But, let’s call it what it is, shall we? This is rape culture at its finest. And, it is not okay for women to be treated this way.

They want us to say that it’s no big deal, because then they can keep behaving the way that they do.

Rape Culture & Abortion

I used to be anti-abortion. I’ve said this many times. But…

The UN classified forced pregnancy as torture in 2013.

Overturning Roe v Wade has left ambiguity that prevents rape victims from aborting pregnancies that result from rape.

It has left providers afraid to give abortions even to save the woman’s life.

Rape and rape culture are about control…and so are anti-abortion laws. If it was about babies, then maternal and infant death rates wouldn’t be higher in the US than in any other developed country.

What Can You Do About It?

  • Call your Congressmen and demand either an impeachment investigation of the justices who lied under oath regarding Roe v Wade at their confirmation hearings or for the Supreme Court to be expanded.
  • Vote in the primaries and in November
  • Educate the people in your circle about this issue (you can share this blog post with them) and encourage them to vote as well.
  • Find a local protest or grass roots campaign and volunteer.

References on Rape Statistics & More

Victimizations not reported to the police 2006-2010

Republican controlled states have higher murder rates than Democratic ones: study

Republicans blame Democrats for crime — but new data shows higher murder rates in red states

Red States Have Higher Murder Rates Than Blue States, According to New Study

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AprilCoxTravel & Freelance
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