It’s hard to know what to do in that situation. What if you report and nothing gets done for you? Rape kit backlog is in the thousands and stretches over many YEARS. They just sit in warehouses. Unfunded. Not a priority.
Meanwhile, the victim has to live their daily life. See the person. Worse, see the person’s friends and family.
“You’re the bitch that reported [the person we like]”. Life = unpleasant and potentially dangerous for them.
Plus, police are not required to protect people from crime. They can only enforce the law AFTER a crime has been committed. But with no proof of crime? Options are limited.
Silence is not a good answer and yet it’s understandable when someone won’t speak up. Think of boys being molested through the decades. What benefit did they have in speaking up? Even less so for girls and women who speak up.
Thankfully there’s SOME support programs available and allow them to open up more, so there are benefits to speaking up.
But when someone doesn’t or feels they can’t, they may have good reasons to stay quiet, and it’s a shame because bad folks get to keep doing what they’re doing.
I Just hope more and more support is available so that victims *do* feel safe in speaking up so that justice can be served.
It’s easy for me to say YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP! I hope more DO speak up. But that’s easy for me to say isn’t it?
I’ve known males and females that didn’t speak up. Too close to the attacker. They had to go to school with them or see them around town. Or strong families that wouldn’t let them live it down if they did.
I’d encourage, give phone numbers, talk of the benefits. offer to stand by their side the whole way through… but in the end, it’s their choice on how they handle the situation.
It’s only been a dozen or so ppl that have shared their stories with me and most went through with it but those that didn’t had their reasons.
I just hope more do speak up and that positive change isn’t just made but sticks.
It’s a delicate situation because it’s too easy to replace one form of victim shaming with another.
I’d say in some cases it’s excusable too. I’ll give an analogy: Whistle blowing.
If you see fraud or a crime committed, is it always best to report what you see?
Sometimes it is. Ideally, all times it would be. But we’re not in an ideal world that rewards whistle blowers. Often they’re punished in some way for it.
It’s not always easy to know what to do.
In the case of rape, you’ve suffered. Now I’ve never been raped. I don’t know what it’s like. I can imagine, but I don’t know and I don’t want to do.
How can I ask them to sacrifice themselves to the system and trust the system that has failed so many for the betterment of society if *I’ve* never been through it myself?
The only one that can REALLY encourage someone to go through the process is someone who has been through it and will stand by their side because they know what’s involved and what to expect.
Otherwise, who am I to say what they should do?
I can try of course. But I can’t call them “selfish” if they’re unwilling to do what I’ve never done.
Ok. Let’s ask this:
If they won’t do it, would you be willing to stand in their place and say that you were raped?
Same benefit to society.
Women is raped. She tells you.
She also tells you, after you implore her to talk to the police, that the rapist has 3 brothers and a father that will go after her family if she says anything. She also has a little brother in 3rd grade that she knows they will go after and torment if she tells.
The rapist also has a sister that’s her age that will gladly lie about her, spreading rumors about her sexual proclivities and gold-digging need, feeding into the gossip train at school.
She knows the people so she knows the consequences. She mostly fears for her little brother.
If you force her to go in against her will, exposing her to be potentially violated by the system (there is no guarantee that they will believe her. They may (and often do) decide she is lying.
Meanwhile, because she told, her brother gets tormented at school, she’s shamed and bullied at school, her father loses is job because the guy’s father lies about her father to his boss and gets him fired and her mother gets threatening calls at work that “something’s going to happen” to her when she leaves that day.
In short, family feud ensues with no help from police.
These are the kinds of real life things that can happen in some cases.
Remember It’s not just “society”.
You have: a) family. b) neighbors. c) schoolmates d) work mates e) church f) town. g) other families
and they’re not always in neat little concentric circles.
They’re not rare unfortunately. People often live within family units or have other small group ties that they depend on, financially, emotionally, and/or for their safety and sense of protection against an often hostile world.
Unfortunately, you’re right in that sometimes vigilante action might be the best available choice. You may have to face consequences (if you break the law in your vigilantism, you’re subject to the same punishment as any other intentional criminal).
So, if the cost is worth it to you, then it’s worth it to you.
In these times, here’s who I think might offer the best solution:
a) go to the media
b) while WITH the media, talk to the police
Then you get
a) potential community support that might extend beyond “just the victim”
b) Less power for the perp and his family and friends
c) police that now HAVE to act more appropriately because *they* have to worry about being shamed.
I’m not going to use it, not to worry (although you could) but it’s something to consider. Vigilante justice is a criminal act and when laws are broken, they’re broken, no matter how justified the intent of the person who commits the crime of vigilantism.
When the *actual* enforcers of law see someone enacting a “higher law”, they’re still breaking the law to the actual enforcers of law.
Also, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before:
There’s rape hotlines in almost every community, plus many rape crisis centers.
Maybe the best advice for you, if you were in a situation where you knew someone was raped but didn’t want to report it is to encourage them to go to a rape crisis center.
THOSE are people that have been through it. They know what to expect from the police, the court system, the community. They have the expertise and you and I don’t have to give the proper advice.
Well, think about it: Police departments aren’t really equipped to handle rape cases all that well.
Imagine you’re a victim and you don’t know how the police work.
You say something the wrong way. Give off the impression that you’re usually willing but this time it was different. Imagine you accidentally give the police a reason to doubt your story.
As soon as they think you’re lying to them, the tables turn.
But someone with expertise in the area will coach you in how to talk properly to the police.
Did you watch the “Don’t talk to the police” videos?
The 2nd video was from a cop’s point of view. VERY insightful. I knew some of those things but I didn’t know all of them. He goes over a lot of the tricks they use in order to criminalize someone who they believe is a criminal.
If a rape victim is viewed not as a victim but as a criminal in their eyes for whatever reason, everything in that video now applies to them.
It’s not that they’re necessarily *trying* to make people into criminals that aren’t. They’re trying to get to the truth as best they can. HOPEFULLY they get it right more often than wrong.
You’ll especially like the first one. He’s an ex-defense lawyer who is now a professor. He talks VERY fast and goes over many thought experiments.
He brings up theoretical circumstances that will make your logical brain buzz with excitement at new knowledge. I think it was 25 minutes long but it felt like a minute. I enjoyed it.