Echoing Footsteps: Rape, Victims, Survivors, and What We Can Do

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Echoing Footsteps: Rape, Victims, Survivors, and What We Can Do

Rape is devastating to its victims. I feel as if this statement should stand alone, underlined and in bold typeface. It is crucial that we, as a society, come to a deep understanding and awareness of this message. For that reason, I will state it again: Rape is devastating to its victims. Thirty percent of rape victims will contemplate suicide. Slightly more will seek therapy. Slightly less will invest in some form of self-defense. The overwhelming majority, 82%, will tell you that their lives have been permanently changed. The way they view men will be permanently changed as well (Warshaw 66). Forty-one percent of victims go through life
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We can help. We can find out what victims’ legal options are, and if we act together, we can improve those options. We can support local shelters and hotlines. We can support our loved ones should they be hurt, directly or indirectly, by this crime. We can disseminate the truth so that no one can claim ignorance of the fact that rape is devastating.

So what is the truth about rape? In 1996, 362 rapes were reported in Tucson, Arizona. Three times that, 974 rapes were reported in the state of Arizona during that time period (Koss 1). Government estimates find that three to ten rapes are committed for every one reported (Warshaw 12). That means almost 10,000 women were raped in Arizona in one year. Evidence obtained by crisis hotlines and outreach programs suggests that these figures are extremely low. Moreover, 84% of these victims knew and trusted their attackers (Koss 6). Have I got your attention?

Destroy your preconceptions and social myths. Women are not raped by strangers. No one deserves to be raped. No one. Nothing you say or do can be considered “asking for it.” No means no, even when you are wearing your sexiest clothes, drinking, kissing, or being a flirt. Once you have said no, it is rape. Even if you find yourself paralyzed, even if you do not fight back, it is still rape. It is not your fault, and you do not need to feel guilty for not fighting back. A rapist is a rapist, whether he/she has a gun, a knife

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