Editorial: Stigma surrounding rape must be discussed, eradicated

Trigger warning: sexual assault discussed

A young woman in her junior year of college is known for being under the influence of drugs and alcohol at parties. At one particular party, a friend of hers sees that she is clearly unable to consent to anything of the sexual nature but makes the decision to take advantage of her.

The next morning, the young woman who was assaulted decides against reporting the rape because she feels as though she will not be taken seriously due to her track record with inebriation. She also feels that her rapist is financially capable of representation that would allow him to avoid the law. She decides against reporting the rape.

This story may sound farfetched and possibly unbelievable, but it is unfortunately entirely truthful.

The general public knows that rape is a crime and will not be tolerated. Women should report a rape right after it happens, but does everyone really believe that? Almost 91.6% of rapes go unreported, according to the National Statistic Institute. The stigma surrounding rape needs to be talked about so that it can be eradicated.

Women are told to never attend parties alone, never take their eye off of their drink or walk home with keys in their knuckles for protection, to name a few precautions. The public gives women these rules because rape seems unavoidable; however, as soon as women report that they have been a victim of rape, we seem to turn our backs on those in need, and act as if the concept is preposterous.

That is not to say that women are the only victims of rape. Men can just as easily be victims, but “one out of every ten rape victims are male,” according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Therefore, women are at a greater risk.

The school has services that deal with students reporting rape or any form of unwanted sexual advances, but due to the societal stigma that exists, students might find it difficult to report anything.

Some women may find going to the police daunting because they do not want to answer detailed questions about their attack. A solution to this is the sexual assault hotline that is available to anyone victim.

A clear solution for this problem may not be evident, but a good starting place would be to have open and honest conversations about rape. Although, it seems as though these conversations are already happening, the conversation needs to shift to the services available that deal with reporting.

There is a clear problem in this country when it comes to believing victims, but the first step to combating this problem is to erase the stigma around rape by talking openly.