The Stigma of Rape

The issues of rape and body shaming really piss me off. I recently read the article on the BYU action concerning their policies and actions taken against women who have been raped. It appalls me that we still live in an era that it is still the woman who is at fault.

Over the past several months I have watched a very young lady be persecuted openly for acts committed against her by her father. Her mother and I both encouraged her to speak up. Step out of the box and be a voice not just for herself but for others. Her mother and I have many friends between the two of us. We were expecting people to encourage  and support her. Instead, overall people are still hiding behind closed doors. Why? In order to make change, people must unite together and become one voice! So, why does everyone remain quiet? We remain quiet out of fear. Fear of retaliation. Fear of being judged. Fear that we may have to talk about an uncomfortable subject that needs to be addressed.

The latest published statistics show the following:

Sexual Assault Statistics in Utah and the Nation
In Utah:
• 1 in 3 women in Utah will experience some form of sexual violence during her life. Child molestation is the most common form of sexual violence, followed closely by rape. 86.2% of victims in Utah were first assaulted before their 18th birthday.
(Rape in Utah: A Survey of Utah Women About Their Experience with Sexual Violence. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2005.)
• Approximately 1 in 8 women in Utah will be raped sometime during their lifetime.
(Rape in Utah, 2005.)
• According to the 2004 “crime clock” calculations, there is one forcible rape every 9.6 hours in the State of Utah.
(2004 Crime in Utah. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification.)
• In 2004, law enforcement made 241 arrests for forcible rapes and 608 arrests for sex offenses, an increase of 26% from 2003.
(2004 Crime in Utah.)
• Rape is the only category of violent crime in Utah which has a rate that exceeds the nation’s average.
(Rape in Utah. 2005)
• In fact, since 1991, Utah’s reported rape rate has consistently been higher than the national rate. In 2003, Utah’s rape rate was 18.1% higher than the national rate.
(Sexual Violence in Utah: Analysis of Incident-Based Crime Data. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2005.)
• Only 21.4% of rape victims in Utah reported the offense to law enforcement.
(Shedding Light, 2002 Utah Crime Victimization Survey. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2003.)

In the United States:
• 2002 crime clock calculations indicate that there is one forcible rape every 5.5 minutes in the U.S.
(Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in the United States, 2002. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. 2003.)
• An estimated 302,100 women and 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.
(Tjaden, Patricia and Thoennes, Nancy. Prevalence, Incident, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, Office of the Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. November 1998.)
• Teens 16 to 19 were three and one-half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
(National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. 1996.

I did find a few newer stats up to 2013 however they were almost the same but not as detailed. These numbers are horrific! We need to come together and speak out. Until we do, and even after, we will continue to be looked at as the ones who deserve this. It’s our own faults. We will continue to be punished for crimes committed against us.

We believe we have our clergy to help us through these things. Do we honestly have that resource? Why is it a women goes to her ecclesiastical leader and she is told how horrible it is this happened. How can we help? Then in the same sentence told if she hadn’t have made the choices she did, it wouldn’t have happened. Therefore the message sent is; It sucks to be you. Its your own fault. There is no logic to that response or reasoning.

In my own experience, people such as male church leaders don’t know or care the damage done to a women or girl when this happens. It is a life altering event. We don’t just “get over it” We become our own worst enemy to the full extent. We begin to believe it IS our fault. Many women start using drugs or drinking to make the pain go away. I not only became an alcoholic, but I started self harming. I moved on to violent relationships’ thinking I didn’t wasn’t worth anything more. The first time I tried to commit suicide I was 14 after going through a lot of physical and emotional abuse at home. Later that same year, I was sexually assaulted by a family member. I then  made my second attempt to take my own life. No one ever told me I was worth more than that so I continued down the path of my own self destruction.

If you step back and take an unbiased look at many situations, you can see that there is a cycle or pattern that we get stuck in no matter how intelligent one is. This happens due to lack of getting the appropriate help for ourselves. We hide truths about things because we are ashamed of what happened to us. We may not understand clearly that we aren’t permanently broken. That there is help. The more we hide things and don’t speak out the longer society will believe it is ok to place blame on the victim/survivor of such unthinkable actions.  These things are unreasonable and not acceptable to me!

Ladies, It’s time to unite. To raise our voices and stand as one. Be each others support. Fight for the right to be justified not by just others but by ourselves. No means no. Rape and or sexual assault is not acceptable at any level. It’s not your fault. You are strong, beautiful and are priceless!

The campaign against this starts now. It starts here. Please join me in being a voice!

August 12, 2016

Hailee Smith

haileesmith@activist.com

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7 thoughts on “The Stigma of Rape”

  1. I hate the notion that implies anyone “deserved” this. Just because you dress, or speak, or carry yourself in a certain way does not mean you are “asking” for it. No means no, and if you don’t understand that you should be removed from society!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For many years I was quiet, when I finally spoke to against my abuser, he packed up his family & moved away. Supposedly he was on a “missed wanted” list- but I highly doubt that as he & his wife were running a day care out of their home when they were finally caught again. About 15 yrs later I got a phone call from the State Attorneys Office in Parumhp Nevada, asking me (okay truthfully TELLING ME) i was being supponed to come out there to testify against my adviser. Who now has 6 more, (that we know about) UNDERAGE victims. The sad fact is that unless or until it happens to someone they love….. None of what’s happened will matter. We do need a voice, one single voice to speak for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I am totally 100% against any kind of rape! Whether it be Woman or Man. In today’s society their are only a few men who even dear to speak out against Rape! I myself am a victim, of rape, and violence. Young boys are not aloud to speak out, we are not aloud to be vulnerable, we are not aloud to speak our minds. Young boys, are taught to be a man, we are taught to be strong, we are taught to believe only women can be raped, we are taught not to talk about a man being raped, we are told, as a young boy, that we are not a man if we should breakdown and cry. Society does not teach young boys to speak out. After all we are men, and men hold back our feelings. Because men are so often told to be a man, we are now afraid to talk about rape. Although women are raped more often than men, society should change there way of thinking, and men should speak out, men should tell there story, and let it be known, that it’s okay to speak out, and let it go! The change will come, when men do speak out, and tell there story once and for all!!

    Like

  4. Revised comment:

    Men can be raped!

    Hi, I am totally 100% against any kind of rape! Whether it be Woman or Man. In today’s society their are only a few men who even dear to speak out against Rape! I myself am a victim, of rape, and violence. Young boys are not aloud to speak out, we are not aloud to be vulnerable, we are not aloud to speak our minds. Young boys, are taught to be a man, we are taught to be strong, we are taught to believe only women can be raped, we are taught not to talk about a man being raped, we are told, as a young boy, that we are not a man if we should breakdown and cry. Society does not teach young boys to speak out. After all we are men, and men hold back there feelings. Because men are so often told to be a man, we are afraid to talk about rape. Although women are raped more often than men, society should change there way of thinking, and men should speak out, men should tell there story, and let it be known, that it’s okay to speak out, and let it go! The change will come, when men do speak out, and tell there story once and for all!

    Like

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