Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rape: The Dilemma of Obtaining Justice, Protecting Rights. and Everyone's Privacy Choices

If you work with trauma victims--individuals who have suffered from sexual assault, battery, kidnapping, etc. You know that there is not just one way that people respond to trauma, and there is not only one right way to assist in recovery.

At Universities, many of the advocacy and counseling issues are complicated by legal issues and administrations' desires to create a safe place for all.
Because of the Post-Event Trauma associated with rape, many victims of this crime choose not to pursue Justice.
They have seen friends being dragged through a legal system that has been perverted (Whores of the Court) (Justice for Some) and have seen the statistics that indicate a poor chance for prosecutions, let alone convictions.

Unlike burglary victims, who are not asked why they had so many pretty things sitting in plain view through the garage windows, or murder victims, who are not asked why they had the gall to show off their vitality, Rape Victims are often asked, in court, why they dressed provokatively or allowed a date to kiss them.
Yes, those questions are being asked in court by the Best Defense Attorneys in 2010.
They have seen parents freak out and boyfriends accuse,
They have decided to spare a sister or brother from the vicarious trauma.
(Many erroneously believe that by pushing the trauma aside, it will go away.)

Some decide that the retaliation they will endure after reporting is not worth the feelings of futility and frustration. When victims have been ordered in court  NOT to use the word, "rape" but instead use "sexual intercourse"  (!)  -- No wonder they assume the worst. Most students i have worked with decided not to pursue legal remedies, either through the campus policies or through the legal system.

Many were informed by police or lawyers that their case would "probably" not be picked up for trial. So in that case-- the perpetrator would be questioned once or twice, enough to let him know who reported him, then the matter would be dropped by officials.
and the crime victim lives on...
( The Kansas City Star had an excellent article about the aftermath: HERE)

So here is the Issue I'd like to hear about and ponder and get your emails and comments:
How do we turn around the reporting issues that surround Sexual Assault?
When women do show great bravery and push for justice, it is usually to "keep the guy from doing it again"--do we think that works?

When will women and men (i do not speak of girls and boys) decide they and their families will have to endure all the pain, and maybe for nothing, in order to change the culture of non-reporting?
Should we hide victims' names?
When will all sexual crime victims feel it is OK to report and be safe afterwards?

Shall we have a national day of reporting?

Here is a dilemma for you:
1. If a student who is raped decides not to pursue legal remedies, and the perpetrator rapes again, is the first victim to blame?

2. If a university employee knows the name of the perpetrator--perhaps the victim told a teacher, or an advocate, or a nurse or a custodial staff friend--and the university does not pursue the perpetrator, even though the victims has expressly said, I Do Not Want To Pursue It-- and the perpetrator rapes another student, is the first victim to blame or is the university to blame?

3. If the victim does say, yes, i want to pursue, through university policies or the legal system, this crime, please help me--and the case is never brought to trial because of lack of evidence, and the rapist rapes again, who is to blame?

4. If the rapist is convicted and he is released and rapes again, is the rehabilitation system to blame?

Keep in mind: Rapists do not rape for sex, but to assuage feelings of inferiority.
Rapists have access to consensual sex. But the act of overpowering, taking, forcing, winning, is what makes rape attractive to this selfish individual. According to the primary researacher of campus sexual assault, most rapists continue to rape until they are stopped. read and watch: (Dr. David Lisak-The Undetected Rapist)

Here are some more articles and videos:

"This next report may cause people to rethink what they believe about sexual assault on college campuses. It's commonly assumed that men who commit sexual assault made a one-time bad decision maybe clouded by too much drinking.  "
"SHAPIRO: But David Lisak, the psychologist, says schools put too much faith in teachable moments when they ought to treat sexual assault as a criminal matter. Dr. LISAK: These are clearly not individuals who are simply in need of a little extra education about proper communication with the opposite sex. These are predators. "
an article by Dr. Lisak:
previous posts about this issue:
npr video of student victim's story
tell me your thoughts.


  1. I think it is so important, yet incredibly difficult, to respect the rights of all parties involved: the victim, the alleged attacker and the University students.

    As a KSU student, I want to know that the University is looking out for my safety by taking precautions against potential threats. Conversely, I would hate to see a fellow student (likely, male) stigmatized based on unsubstantiated claims (assuming the victim did not want to pursue legal action).

    I cannot say upon whom this responsiblity falls. Upon the victim, to report, or the University, to take action despite the victim's reluctance.

    There are no easy solutions!

  2. I agree with the previous comment. There is no simple solution. I do think the University advisory board and other officials should deal with these problems as thoroughly and severely as possible if they are not able to go ahead with a criminal investigation. Move the accused rapists to a different location and do everything possible to diffuse the situation and to stop it from happening again. Knowing that a false report is much more unlikely than an actual rape, it would be the safest way to deal with this situation for the university and the campus as a whole.

    Secondly, action against university rape culture must be addressed as thoroughly as possible. We must educate the friends, roommates, boyfriends/girlfriends, and family members of potential victims that could prevent dangerous situations. Also, make sure you have staff with the proper empathy, professionalism, and knowledge to deal with a crime as horrendous as rape/sexual assault. Yes, the victims have the right to confidentiality, but they also have the right to know all their options and the weight that corresponds to their decisions.

    Mary, great Lisak articles.

  3. If a girl does not want to press charges, and the guy rapes again, it is not her fault because even if she did press charges he would rape again. But the second victim, if she finds out, will be angry and can sue. but what if the police say theres no case and wont take it to court, and the guy rapes again, how can anyone complain? It is the same with spammers and people trying to get virusus on computers. There are a lot of asses out there. we need a better way to prosecute. we need a webpage to put names and pics of these pigs up so women can be warned. I don't know how to fix this.

  4. According to those links above, there are a lot of guys who are going to rape; no education is going to change them. So the only thing a university can do is educate the women right away. And if a guy is reported, he should get called in and be made so scared he poops his pants.
    But I cannot understand why a girl won't press it. Don't we all want to get justice? At least his name is mud after she reports him. If you are a girl don't you want the other girls to all report every crime so we can all be warned?

  5. I guess i am not sure why a university has any responsibility for all this. Aren't the students considered "adults" and therefore why can they hold KSU or a business for that matter, responsible for a crime? If the university knows a man is dangerous to the other students,that must mean that the man has been convicted of a crime. My guess is that most universities post a list of convicted sex crime individuals.
    If the man has not been convicted, then the university has no business saying he is dangerous. In fact, by saying he is dangerous, without a criminal conviction, can not the man sue the university?

  6. I am like shattered glass
    cutting those who touch me
    I have been broken.
    I am hard and sharp.
    People can se though me.
    They know that I can hurt them.
    I am never confronted.
    i am always walked around.
    Lori Gauntlett

  7. Yes, college students are legally considered adults, but most are still dependent on their parents for financial or emotional reasons. Parents won't be staying out of these issues anytime soon. This means the university, who they have entrusted responsibility and money, will be held accountable.

    However, university officials are in a bad place to take action, because they WILL get into legal trouble for incriminating alleged perpetrators without conviction. Maybe efforts should be made to strengthen the bonds between the local police, campus police, and university officials to make sure they are doing the right thing in each situation? Maybe there would be a way to keep the situation under control without a conviction?

  8. Remember a while ago in KS when women were required to report if they went to SANE/SART nurses at the hospital? And how many women didn't want to go to the hospital for many reasons, but mostly because they knew they would have to report if they went? Well doesn't this seem like the same situation??? If a women knows her name will be public if she reports most will not tell an advocate at KSU. Then they will NOT be receiving the help they need. This defeats the purpose. We know we can't do much to get the horrible men because our court system JUST PLAIN FAILS, but we can help the victims as much as possible. If we break their trust by putting their name out there, we will fail them miserably.

  9. From what I have heard 1 in 4 females get raped or have had some sexual advance towards them. Most Universities try to sway the victims to not come forward. This is the same with sexual pedophiles who get away with it until they are ultimately caught and put behind bars. It is true people react differently, when it comes to seeking justice, some do not want to get raped twice once by the perpetrator then by the system. Girls are given a small speech but need to be educated staying with a crowd, do not walk away from your drink, have a code with friends so they are not left or are incapacitated, and most of all have some protection whether its a taser, OC spray or other form of protection always in your hand. We as females or men cannot be always seen as victims; we need to stand up for those who have no voice. We need to hold officials, the Universities and its students up to higher standards.