Rape- How Can We Change Essay, Research Paper
Rape How Can We Change?
Although the country has seen crime rates plummet in recent years, rape continues to be a major concern in America. According to Annette Fuentes article, “Crime Rates Are Down… But What About Rape?” in Ms. magazine, “an estimated fifteen percent of women are raped or molested at some point in their lives” (22). While big cities such as Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York have seen the rates of violent crimes such as murder, robbery, and aggravated assault plummet, rape has not been so fortunate. In most of these cities, reported cases of rape have declined by only a few percentage points, whereas in some of these cities, reported cases of rape have actually increased. Rape is an epidemic that is slowly plaguing our entire nation, and unless some drastic action is taken immediately, this epidemic may never be cured. If we are truly interested in having our nation cleansed of this disease, we must begin by removing from our minds the notion that rape occurs only among the poor. When asked to comment on the brutality of rape, Roger Crafts, the Dean of “Student Affairs” at Brandeis University said: “I do not think that we have a significant problem here because we have a sophisticated and intelligent group of students” (Sweet 93). Dean Crafts went on to mention that “vandalism and physical harm are more likely to occur with lower educational levels” (93). Mr. Crafts feelings on the subject of rape concur with those of “middle class America.” Most of us feel that rape occurs only in the lower socioeconomic classes of America and not amongst those with higher educational backgrounds. Contrary to most of our beliefs, rape exists in the upper and middle classes as well, but in most cases goes unreported due to a various number of reasons.
Fortunately, in recent years, the occurrences of violent rapes (those that are committed by unidentified men who forcibly attack women and then proceed to rape them) are slowly decreasing. Unfortunately, “date rapes,” which were virtually unknown a generation ago, have now become commonplace. Unlike, violent rapes, a date rape is committed by someone who is known to the victim. In these types of situations, the rapist can sometimes be even the victim s best friend. A “date rape” can leave emotional scars much deeper than those that are left from a violent rape because the prior is committed by someone whom the victim has an attachment to. Because of this, many times the victim goes into denial and refuses to accept the fact that she has been raped. In her essay “Date Rape,” Ellen Sweet talks about a Stanford student named Gretchen and describes her experiences after she had been “date raped” by a man whom she had known for five years prior to being raped by him. ” I considered him my best friend, she says on a Stanford University videotape used in discussions of the problem. I couldn t believe it, I couldn t believe it was actually happening to me ” (89). Gretchen s experiences and her disbelief are not uncommon. Many victims of “date rape” often go through a phase of denial in which they feel that someone that they know could not possibly have raped them. Other victims blame themselves for the rape. Many times, the victims feel as if it was they, who somehow through their actions brought on intercourse and because of this miscommunication, it was in someway their fault. Because of these two reasons, many times a woman is not even aware that she has been raped. In one study, psychology professor Mary P. Koss of Kent State University was shocked when she learned that 1 in 8 female students at the university were victims of some form of rape, while 1 in 4 students claimed to be victims of attempted rape.
Contrary to Mr. Krafts theory that rapes occur only in the lower educational levels, Professor Koss study shows that unfortunately, rape is not uncommon amongst people with higher educational backgrounds. Date rape has now become a commonplace in universities throughout America. Many universities refuse to accept this problem and take action upon it because doing so can possibly tarnish their reputations. It is exactly this denial that is allowing the problem of “date rape” to grow. Because many students know that they will not be punished for their actions, they continue to find victims and “date rape” them. To solve this growing problem, universities must begin to accept the fact that “date rape” is growing and must introduce programs to solve this disease.
Unlike most universities, local, state and federal governments are beginning to accept the fact that date rapes are no longer a rarity. Defendants who are charged with rape in situations in which they have known a woman prior to having intercourse with them are now being found guilty whereas in years past, they would not be punished. Ellen Goodman gives an excellent example of the changing mentality towards rape in her essay, “When A Women Says No” in which she describes a case where a woman was raped by four men. The trial testimony showed that the woman had previously had sex with three of those four men. However, the jury still found the four men guilty of rape. They felt that “Sexual consent between a man and a woman on one occasion does not mean the man has access to her whenever it strikes his fancy” (99). Although these types of trials do not always end with the same verdict, a few years ago, women would not have even pressed charges. The fact that these types of cases are even being brought to trial, shows how important the issue of “date rape” has become.
As we enter the new millennium, it crucial that the views of the upper and middle classes of America change on the subject of rape. Americans as a whole need to admit that rape is an issue which is affecting the whole country, not just the lower class. People like Roger Crafts need to acknowledge that rape exists even in institutions with the highest educational standards. Without acknowledging the problem that rape has become, there is no room to improve. The only way that America can truly eradicate this dilemma which is slowly taking over our country is by creating better awareness. We need to admit that rape is a psychological disease and our society needs to find a way to help those with this disease.
Nobody not even your worst enemy should be subjected to the experience of a rape. There is no crime more emotionally painful to the victim than rape because the man who rapes a women takes away all of her pride, self respect, and dignity and throws her into a life of living hell.