Why Some Victims of Rape and Abuse Say It Never Happened

 

After the loss
When a victim of sexual violence reports that someone raped them they might want to press charges.  

At first.

But then…….

As time goes on they may begin to pull away and become less cooperative.

With everyone.

Medical professionals. Law enforcement. Prosecution.

Even advocates.

And, even their own friends & family.


Doubt

So because of this,  somewhere along the line folks start to wonder. Maybe they are not telling the truth?

People start to say, “If it were me…..,   I would just…..”

But it isn’t.  And if you haven’t ever gone through the process, you may never understand.

NEVER.


What you may never understand

Few people can understand how devastating and life-shattering rape/sexual abuse is.  I consider this a blessing.


They will never know that as you wade into the middle the process, you find that it is far more difficult than the human mind is capable of imagining.

Because it turns out that rape/sexual abuse is not the type of crime that prompts people to rally around the victim.

There are few, if any, large protest marches.

There usually aren’t high profile speakers who come out in support of victims.

I don’t think that are even many hashtag campaigns in support of individual victims of sexual violence.  The hashtags are reserved for the names of the accused.  

And if I may, usually, males of color.  Never women. Never people who are white.

What if feels like to be a “victim”

You walk into a room and people just suddenly stop talking.

Or, maybe they whisper a bit when you’re around.

They never did that before.

Then, of course, there is the embarrassment.

That stupid shame and guilt that you didn’t even earn.

That discomfort in your own skin. No matter what you wear. No matter how many showers you take.

And when did people stop believing everything that you say?  Questioning?


According to one study, common fears of victims include:


~Being blamed by others (62%).

~ Making it known to their family (61%).

~Others finding out(59%)

~Becoming pregnant (37%).

~Getting infected with an STD (28%).

~Contracting HIV/AIDS (24%).


Here is what you need to know:


When a victim of rape/sexual abuse walks back their allegation of rape it is not always because the crime never happened.

The process of dealing with all of the complications that come with reporting are damaging and destructive all at once.

Now, no one is saying that the criminal justice system should not be able to play out in a fair manner.  Still, there ought to be a fair and honest investigation.


In cases of rape/sexual abuse, your body is the scene of the crime. YOUR sexual history is open for full exploration.  Just imagine that.


After someone has violated you, if at all possible, evidence is taken from your body. (More taking)

All of the decisions that you have made prior to someone violating your person, are publicly autopsied.

It just seems like it will never end.  And the process isn’t 1 hour like Law & Order: SVU.  It can take years.


A mother’s nightmare

I once advocated for a mother who was miserable because she had to remain in a place she didn’t want to while her husband was being investigated for molesting her daughter.  

Yet Mom wanted to re-locate where her own family was and where she could likely find better employment.  But the law is the law.

Oh, there are so many details.  You don’t want to read about them.  Victims don’t want to have to go through them.

Again.

And, again.

I will tell you this.

Every time that an agent of the criminal justice system talks with someone who was sexually violated, that person is gathering more evidence from the “scene of the crime”.  


Even when we mean well.

So why do victims take it all back?

Victims often recant because they are tired of being a “crime scene”.  They want to return to being a human being again. Quick, fast, and in a hurry.

And so, it may behoove us all to slow down on our judgment of a given situation.  Just because a victim recants doesn’t mean that a crime didn’t occur.

They may just want their life back.

The crime of sexual violence is unlike any other crime.  

That is why it must be stopped!


Source:  Dean G. Kilpatrick et al., 2007, “Drug Facilitated, Incapacitated and Forcible Rape: A National Study,” Charleston, SC: National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina.hen a victim of sexual violence reports that someone raped them they might want to press charges.

 

Tonya GJ Prince
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Tonya GJ Prince

Tonya is a Social Justice Info Expert with over 23 years experience. She holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development. Her cat MiaBelle is her co-writer.
Tonya GJ Prince
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