Trigger Warning: This post contains a description of sexual assault that may be triggering for survivors.

 

There has been a lot of victim blaming going around in the past few weeks, and it’s time for it to stop. First, a 14-year-old child was raped by her teacher, and the judge trying the case let her attacker off with a thirty day jail sentence because he felt that the girl was mature enough to have sex with an adult and was “as much in control of the situation” as her rapist. 

 

Then this happened: a female student at the U.S. Navel Academy spoke up about her rape, and she was shamed and humiliated by the attorneys for the defendants, three male students from the academy. The girl was twenty-one when she was attacked; she blacked out from alcohol consumption and woke up the next morning remembering hardly anything. Fellow classmates informed her that she had been raped (the three men were bragging about having had sex with her on the social media site). This is not sex; it’s violence. 

 

It has been a nightmare for this woman to have her case heard: the school initially punished her for drinking, and when the case finally began to be addressed, the defense lawyers continued to ask her disgusting, slut-shaming questions about her favorite sex positions and her undergarments. They even asked her to describe her oral sex preferences. WHAT?!

 

Sex positions and and oral sex preferences have absolutely nothing to do with a rape case, but as Petula Dvorak of The Washington Post notes, there seems to be a confusion amongst American citizens about the difference between rape and sex. Rape is a violent, brutal act of physical and emotional abuse, while sex is a giving and receiving of pleasure (even love). I cannot think of two things more different. A woman’s sex life has absolutely zero bearing on her credibility as a rape survivor, and if these lawyers are seeking to undermine her story, they sure as hell had better try a different tactic. 

 

The association between sex and rape in the minds of so many Americans is not only grossly incorrect but terribly dangerous not only for victims but for the entire country. It can lead to victim-blaming and slut-shaming; it makes sex seem wrong and rape seem understandable. We’ve seen a lot of that in the past week, and it’s simply time to end it.

 

Thanks to The Washington Post

Image via Associated Press and The Washington Post

Tagged in: women, washington dc, violence, us navel academy, Sex, rape survivors, rape, law, jail, court, america   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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