We are horrified when we read the treatment women get in traditional Islamic societies. We are quick to create petitions demanding for equal or at minimum, better treatment for women all over the globe… all over the globe except for the ones in our own backyard.
Women that are raped in our country are ignored, ashamed, mocked by their neighbors, abandoned by their so-called friends, questioned by their peers and victimized by the system; a system that more and more seems to think that women are not as valuable as men and if raped, she probably brought the act upon herself.
Those women that have the courage to take her rapist(s) to trial find themselves accused of provoking the assailant into sex. As if they lured them just like the mermaids in the legends lured sailors into doing what otherwise they wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for their irresistible songs. We hear that the woman was a drunk, dressed provocatively, had had many sex partners in her life, everything you can think of and her name and life are dragged in the mud in order to blame her and spare the men that perpetrated the vile act.
The court system seems to accept what many of us have said for years: that men can only think with one head at a time and therefore the court and defense lawyers believe the perpetrators are the victims because they couldn’t control their penises.
I wonder if they ever stopped to think what rape entails. Not physically, that is not that much of a deal and will heal fast, pretty fast. But the psychological effect is different; more so when those around you instead of offering support, point the finger at you; especially today, where the pictures bearing your face and name can be found everywhere in the Internet and social media, pictures that were placed there with the sole intention of shaming you. Before the Internet you could simply move and start a new life somewhere else, where no one knew you or about what had happened to you. That is not possible today and even though everything pass with time, for some victims the shame is too big to bear and the time too slow to heal them and these victims, overwhelmed by the treatment they are forced to endure, decide to cut their lives short… and those that raped her, mocked her and shamed her go about their lives without a care in the world.
Rape, that four letter word that can change someone’s life. We sympathize with burglary victims, I’ve heard so often what the feeling of coming into your home and find it upside down and all your belongings either gone or thrown all over the house because the thieves searched for something of value. The disgust of thinking that the hands of these criminals were touching your personal belongings, your underwear… how violated one feels! We all sympathize with this, why then we cannot sympathize when the hands violating you where all over your body against your will?
Now imagine for just a minute that you are in a party with friends, those that you think you can trust. As any other would do in a party, you are enjoying a few drinks and perhaps that day your body couldn’t hold the same amount of alcohol and you pass out. Imagine that while you are out, the men in that party decides to have sex with you, and the women present did nothing to stop them. Obviously, you are not a willing participant, but they have fun with you, they take compromising pictures of you and spread those pictures all over the Internet and that is how you find out, days later, that not only one but many of the men in that party fucked you. I can’t say they had sex or made love because that isn’t what happened… What happened it’s basically Necrophilia but people will be outraged if they found out that someone fucked the corpse of a dead relative but they blame the victim if she was unconscious and fucked by those around her. No compassion for the living, outrage for the dead.
I wish those that are quick to judge a rape victim and victimize her over and over again would experience something similar. To perhaps feel what it is like to have the hands of a stranger, or worst a person you trust, all over you without your knowledge or approval, to have someone stronger than you force you into sex when you don’t want to. To know that sensation of filth that no soap can ever wash away no matter how much you try. To walk into a place and noticing the change of expressions, the exchange of looks at best or the open rejection at worse, it’s like having the scarlet letter burnt into your forehead and you are a marked woman by no fault of your own.
The punishment for raping an adult woman is very lenient, unless the rape victim was killed during the attack or if the victim is a child, the rapist(s) basically get a slap on their hands. This happens because the victims are trashed during the trial and basically share part of the blame in the eyes of the jury and, because “boys will be boys” and no one truly blame them for acting on their instincts. Not until there are more severe sentencing for these barbaric actions will anything ever change. Not until those involved in degrading the honor and good name of a victim get penalized along with the rapists will these shameful actions stop. In today’s society, those that participate in the destruction of the victim’s life go unpunished and that should not be. If you know a drug dealer, and hold drugs for them – but you are not selling them, distributing them or doing anything with them but hold them – you can rest assured that if you are caught, you will be punished a punishment as harsh as that of a drug dealer… so why do these people that shared the pictures of the victim, that laughed about it and that abused her afterwards go without any repercussions for their actions?
The laws must change. It is far more destructive to rape a person than it is to smoke a joint, but the jails are filled with pot users who are serving a far longer sentence than a rapist and a rapist is far more dangerous to society than a pothead will ever be.