August 6, 2013-You know the number one thing you can do to stop sexual assault? Don’t sexually assault anybody. Sounds easy enough, right? So why is the main responsibility for avoiding abuse still so often placed on victims and potential victims?
Recently Jennifer Stephens, a battalion commander in the Ohio National Guard, noticed a sign in the women’s restroom at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base declaring that “Preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty!” That duty, according to the base’s sexual assault prevention and response program, includes the warning to “Avoid becoming a victim.” How? With tips like “Socialize with people who share your values,” “Pay attention to your surroundings” and “Don’t leave a group situation with someone you don’t know well.” That’s all sound, common sense advice. The problem is that, as with so many prevention programs, it suggests that preventing abuse is not “everyone’s duty” at all.
For additional information: http://www.alternet.org/judge-calls-13-year-old-girl-who-was-sexually-assaulted-41-year-old-predatory
Rape Prevention/Blaming the Victim
I have just read an article in regards to sexual assault prevention. It seems sexual assault prevention programs concentrate on avoiding becoming a victim. Creating a list detailing ways to avoid becoming a victim is great and needed. That is all well and good, but it seems even today society is still practicing “victim blaming.” While I believe there is a place for prevention programs, What about concentrating on the perpetrators of this horrible crime? What about treatment programs that work? What about teaching men to respect women? Or how about teaching women to respect men? It does work both ways.
Also contained in the article was a statement from a judge who referred to a thirteen year old sexual assault victim as a predator! Assaulted by a forty-one year old male and the judge had just given him a suspended sentence. The sub-human also known as, Neil Wilson, had pleaded guilty to making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a thirteen year old girl.
Nigel Peters, a judge in the United Kingdom, explained his leniency stemming from the fact “the girl was predatory and was egging you on.” During the trial, the prosecution had declared the girl was “sexually experienced” and “She appeared to look around 14 or 15 and had the mental age of a 14 or 15 year old despite being younger than that.” The story gets better! “There was sexual activity, but it was not of Mr. Wilson’s doing, you might say it was forced upon him despite being older and stronger than her. Law enforcement found a stash of images and videos depicting child abuse and bestiality in Wilson’s home (remember he is the perpetrator of this crime), but the thirteen year old is the perpetrator here.”
Regardless of what behavior she may have exhibited; the fact remains she is only thirteen years old! In my opinion, Mr. Wilson is a predator and he manipulated this child into having sex with him! It seems this child may be in or is from a dysfunctional situation, which is a prime target for a predator or molester. I am not quite sure if he is a true pedophile even though he did have a “stash” of pornographic images and videos depicting child abuse and bestiality. I do believe he is a sexual predator!
Why do we still blame the victim? Why would an educated individual (the judge) blame a thirteen year old child, apparently disguised as a fifteen year old child, for being the victim of a sexual assault? This amazes me! I have seen children with more on the ball than this judge. We as a society have to re-examine the way the criminal justice system treats victims of sexual assaults; children trafficked into prostitution and others in similar circumstances.
In closing, I realize some sexual assault accusations have proven to be false, but that is a small percentage of the total cases. What concerns me is this: It seems the majority of individuals who have a tendency to blame victims are college educated. I have not done any research on the subject; it is just an opinion.