Believe Survivors

Sexual Assault.  A topic that has a heavy presence  in the media in recent days, with movements such as #metoo, and the many court cases whose controversial rulings have shaken the nation.  It is a topic that is more important than ever. People the ages “12-34 have the highest risk for sexual assault” than any other age group, making college campus’s a hot spot for sexual assaults to occur (“Victims of sexual violence: statistics” (n.d.)).   With this, many college campuses are attempting to create a more open dialogue about sexual assault, means of prevention, and victim advocacy.  Despite this, a dialogue accusing those who come out as victims of either lying, or falsely accusing their aggressors, has become the norm on college campuses.  Pegging victims of sexual assault as having ulterier motives such as: the auquistion of money, receiving sympathy or victim advocacy, or fame, from reporting their experiences.  This stigma needs to be crushed. Sexual assault is falsely reported between “2-10%” of the time, falling in the same range as many other criminal charges (Lisak et al., 2010).  

    People don’t want to believe that their favorite celebrity athlete, favorite artist, or teammate as being capable of committing such a crime, but that doesn’t denote that those who report sexual assault are liars.  Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own environments, especially when reporting a sexual assault. Victim advocacy is crucial until we have a world where sexual assault no longer occurs. Whereas a “determination that a report of sexual assault is false can be made only if the evidence establishes that no crime was committed or attempted” (IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center, 2005, pp. 12-13).  Victims of sexual assault shouldn’t have their experience of reporting made to be any more difficult than it already is.

 

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References:

 

IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center. (1999). Investigating sexual assaults: Concepts and issues paper (Rev. 2005 ed.). Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Violence Against Women Online Resources: http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/investigatingsexualassaults/ investigatingsexualassaultspdf.pdf

 

Lisak, D., Gardinier, L., Nicksa, S. C., & Cote, A. M. (2010). False allegations of sexual assault: An analysis of ten years of reported cases. Violence Against Women, 16, 1318-1334. doi:10.1177/1077801210387747 

 

Victims of sexual violence: statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence