In the case of the March 2013 Steubenville rape, two teens were found guilty of raping a 16 year old drunk girl. One of the men is already appealing the verdict on an account that “his brain is not fully developed.” Some of the attitudes towards this case seem like the man guilty may actually stand a chance, especially when people are saying things like: “It wasn’t a brutal rape and although these young men took advantage of her and fingered her she put herself in that position especially drinking to the point of no memory. When it comes down to it, it’s on you.” Placing the blame on the victim, and treating the attackers as victims, and giving the attackers, whom have already been convicted of the crime, another fighting chance? Something is not right with that. This self blame is one of the many reasons women are afraid to confess to that they have been raped. This fear to confess leads to the underreporting of the crime. Underreporting of the crime can allow it to pass as a less serious crime and these negative attitudes towards rape do not help people understand how serious the crime should be taken.
Rape crimes are underreported for many reasons. More rapes occur than are actually reported out of fear of their attacker, the want of the victim to forget what happened, they are confused as to whether they were raped or not, they are ashamed, or they wait too long and there is no trace of physical evidence such as bodily fluids or hair that would go towards convicting the attacker. But, cases of rape that do make it to trial are difficult to prove, and are difficult for the victim to get justice out of. Getting justice is especially difficult when a male attacker has countless of ways to try to deny the occurrence, and get around it not being rape. To a female victim, this is not fair. It is not fair for her male attacker to try to convince other males that it was merely consensual sex because she did not fight back, or there are no physical marks on her, or she got pregnant: There is no way I could have raped her. Then there are men who think like this: “Yes, I know that rape is bad but you have to admit that there are a lot of worse things, like terminal disease, loss of a limb, or despair. I know it’s humiliating but when it’s over it’s over, not like cancer.” In regards to rape, a member of the Republican Party once said “If it’s inevitable (rape), relax and enjoy it.” The negative attitudes towards rape do not only exist in the United States. In Britain, 70% of respondents feel that the media, the legal system, and society, are very unsympathetic to victims of rape. These attitudes towards rape exist in many places. For anyone who has been raped, these negative statements stir up a lot of emotions, disbelief, and hopelessness. Statements like this make the issue of rape so small, when rape should be taken a lot more serious. Knowing that attitudes like these exist only makes reporting the crime harder for women when they have been attacked. They are reluctant. Knowing that their attacker may be able to get off on a rape conviction, only make women victims lose hope before they even try to get justice. This loss of hope and feelings of doubt, create a number of unreported rapes. More stunning than anything of this though, is that are a number of cases of rape that an attacker has admitted fully to committing, but have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, a “caution.” In 2007, more than 100 rapists were let free with a caution. The attackers served no time because they admitted their guilt. 66 of these reports were child rape incidents. How is a victim supposed to feel then? Having a significant number of rapes unreported only add to the picture that “when it’s over, it’s over,” because it’s “just rape”… How many times does a woman have to cry before she is heard, in a patriarchal society? Living in a male dominant world surely does not justify men further seizing more power by being allowed to decide what constitutes as rape and what does not, when it is convenient for them.