(Closed) Spinoff: Why do we doubt rape victims?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
4047 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

True. You’d rarely hear someone say, “Well, you don’t have a large guard dog, so you were asking to be robbed.” Or insert any other precaution you could have to prevent robbery. You don’t hear anyone suggesting that the victim may be making up the robbery, unless of course this person has a history of lying and/or fraud.

But you’ll hear all the time that a rape or sexual assault victim was asking for their abuse because they had a little too much to drink or that skirt was just a little too short. It’s disgusting and it takes the blame off the rapist and onto the victim. Or that they really were cheating or sleeping around, and then decided to lie later and call it rape, regardless of a history of lying (and even if there is a history of lying, I would always lean towards belief).

It hurts. It really hurts to be told that you simply misinterpreted some sort of action or that you’re just making up the whole story. Thankfully when I came forward about my childhood sexual abuse the people I cared about all stood behind me, but there were some who doubted me. No one should have to experience that on any scale.

Post # 4
Member
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@BartenderPlease:  Well, I can’t speak for others but I’ve definitely doubted robbery/mugging stories. I was just talking with a friend about how his new roommate’s robbery story was sketchy! So I question lots of crime stories.

Regarding rape – I would never, ever, say anything to someone doubting their story but I might doubt a story in my head. One problem that I have is that many people claim they’ve been raped after they’ve been drinking, even when the other person has ALSO been drinking, with the reasoning that they weren’t able to give full consent. “Drunk sex is not consensual sex” and whatnot. If both parties are intoxicated, I don’t see this as a fair accusation. 

Post # 6
Member
1773 posts
Buzzing bee

It’s an outdated mindset. From my understanding it used to be common to blame the victim. 

 

Its absolutely horrible.

Post # 7
Member
643 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@greenviolets:  A legal one, yes, but one that theoretically goes both ways. If both partners were wasted, had sex that they both wanted at the time, then they were both technically raped? But it’s kind of a moot point.

The important point is, when someone tells you they’ve been raped listen to them GODDAMIT! My heart just aches for the millions of women who can’t understand what happened to them or are too afraid of being blamed or doubted that they never tell their stories. Being raped sucks enough. We need to make a concerted effort to make their pain stop there and not add to it.

Post # 8
Member
1659 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Because society hates women. 

Post # 9
Member
2905 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Jumping into this discussion against my better judgement…

I think there are a lot of reasons. One is that people who have survived a sexual assault sometimes react in ways that dont seem like the reaction one would expect from a rape victim. It can be difficult for people to understand that life isn’t a Law and Order episode where victims are all huddled in a blanket, sobbing and dialing 911 the second a rape is over.

Another is natural skepticism. I’ve doubted stories about robberies and burglaries before. And I’ve seen actual instances of falsely reported crimes before – things with videotapes, or solid alibis, or unrelated witnesses who contradict the complainant’s story entirely. People absolutely lie about being the victim of all sorts of crimes for all sorts of reasons. And, unfortunately, rape is one of those crimes. A statistic I found (in Ms. magazine, so not some wacky men’s rights newsletter or anything) suggested that 2 to 8% of rape reports are untrue. That’s a pretty big number. Bigger than other crimes? Nope, but its also not nothing. I don’t think rape victims should be doubted any more than victims of robberies or burglaries, but I also don’t think we should assume that just because someone says they were raped, that it must be true. It’s not like some sacred thing that no one would ever lie about. 

Post # 10
Member
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@BartenderPlease:  Wow, I have NEVER thought of that but it’s totally true. Whenever I read about a rape story (I’ve read some in magazines or whatever, none here on the Bee) I always have a little voice that says, “But what did she do.. blah blah blah”and now that you brought this up, that’s an ugly and HORRIBLE habit and I have no explanation whatsoever for why I do it. I would never doubt anyone telling me that they got robbed or carjacked or anything.. Thank you for bringing this up, I totally need to change my attitude and way of thinking. 

Post # 11
Member
1773 posts
Buzzing bee

@KatieBklyn:  but it is something that could be terribly emotionally damaging to the victim if they arent lying.

Post # 12
Member
1695 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@AdriannaJean:  I don’t disagree with your point, but I do feel it’s necessary to point out that it’s the legal standard because for some RIDICULOUS reason, if you mention that a person was drinking, it somehow undermines the validity of the person’s report. 

I completely agree with the second part of your post though. 

Post # 14
Member
1373 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Unlike theft, robbery, fraud, etc most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Women don’t want to think that they are at risk from their husbands, boyfriends, male friends, dates, coworkers. Furthermore, not having relationships and friendships with men and never spending time alone with them is neither a practical or desirable option. So women are confronted with a very frightening reality-the men they trust could rape them and there’s very little they can do to prevent it. This is so frightening that it drives many women into denial-when they hear a story about a woman who is raped they either convince themselves that she is lying or that there were some glaringly obvious signs of what was about to happen that she ignored.

As far as men go, I think it’s probably just that it’s uncomfortable for them to think about it, like it might be uncomfortable for a German to think about the Holocaust or a white South African to think about Apartheid. If they think too much about it, they have to think about the ways they may have been complicit in sexual assault and the attitudes that lead to assault (like pressuring a Girlfriend to have sex until she agreed or not saying anything as a buddy made his way to the bedroom with an extremely drunk girl back in college).

Post # 15
Member
952 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I can’t say that I have ever doubted a rape victims story. It just seems so impossible to me that anyone would make something so terrible up but I know it probably happens in some cases. I think I have always just thought that women are smaller then men so it has to be true. How closed minded am I? 

Post # 16
Member
327 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Canal St Inn

@KatieBklyn:  When the focus on that relatively small percentage keeps other rapes from even getting investigated, it becomes a serious cyclical problem. 

The topic ‘Spinoff: Why do we doubt rape victims?’ is closed to new replies.

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