Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Role Reversal

Trey Smith

Generally speaking, the news media don't lament the theretofore bright futures of young men (or women) convicted of other violent crimes, such as the killing of girlfriends or executing down-on-their-luck job-hunters. They don't grieve at the loss of college football careers for kids convicted of drug-related offenses, or empathize with would-be murderers who break down in tears when faced with consequences for the crimes they committed. They don't assign deeper motivations to the tears of men and women who must now contend with the most openly broken part of the American criminal justice system – incarceration – to which around 2.2 million Americans are currently consigned (at 730 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world) and which is widely recognized as minimally rehabilitative and maximally punitive.

But rape isn't any other crime in America, or elsewhere. Statistics show that every 100 rapes in America results in only five felony convictions. It's the only crime in which the level of intoxication of the victim is considered by some, like the convicted rapists' lawyers and some in the media, to be mitigating evidence. It's the only crime in which the perceived attractiveness of the perpetrators to other people or the victim is considered relevant information. It's the only one in which we're encouraged to sympathize with why perpetrators picked their victims – their supposed drunkenness, their clothes, their reputations – and then blame the victims for making themselves attractive targets.
~ from Steubenville and the Misplaced Sympathy for Jane Doe's Rapists by Megan Carpentier ~
If you don't know about the case referenced above, click here. I don't know which is worse: the fact that rape victims so often are put on trial more than the alleged rapists themselves OR the fact that star athletes can do no wrong in the eyes of their supporters and friends.

Which do you think is worse?

1 comment:

  1. Both are horrible but I think it's worse to put rape victims on trial. It's vile to treat a traumatized person like they're the one who did something wrong.

    People who have been raped need love, support and most of all to be believed.


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