Thursday, April 30, 2009
Is Rape Serious?
A friend passed this article on to me and it really is a great piece about the seriousness of rape. Nicholas Kristof, author of the Op-ed, focuses on how our criminal justice system has deemed the crime of rape as trivial by leaving countless rape kits untested. He shares a story about a suspect that sexually assaults two more victims while the rape kit of his first victim remains unprocessed.
To many of us working in the field of Sexual Violence Prevention this story is all too familiar and we are very aware of how often these undetected rapists will strike again before being caught. Still, the statistics in this article struck me in the wake of the "Swine Flu" scare (less than 5,000 victims) which has recently been elevated to pandemic status despite the fact that influenza (aka, "the common flu") continues to infect more people (200,000 victims) and is responsible for more flu-related deaths. What catches my eye at the moment is how sexual violence, by comparison, is a far more wide spread problem in that there are nearly a million victims worldwide each year (including 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States), yet, it remains one of the lowest priorites to be dealt with as shown in Kristof's article.
When will we take rape seriously?