Living With Fear

By , Brattleboro, VT
17.7 Million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape, while 97% of rapists never spend a day in jail. What is happening to our society that is causing rape to become such a “leisure activity”? It is sickening to think that every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, and each year the statistics of assault are only getting worse. While victims suffer from traumatic effects of being raped, rapists roam the streets with their heads held high and free.

I never imagined that it was even possible for someone close to me to be raped. How could someone violate and disrespect so easily, just to feel dominate? Two years ago my older sister was raped, breaking my family to pieces. My family was left to cope with the depression and pain my sister had to deal with. The man that raped my sister never received a punishment; that believed to be “man” is roaming the streets like he deserves to be in this world.

“I was ashamed. My shame was not about the sexual nature of the crime. It was about how I saw myself. I was ashamed of trusting people, and of not fighting back. I was ashamed of being a victim when I wanted to see myself as a strong, independent woman.” Joanna Connors explains in Telling the Story I tried to Forget, that after becoming a rape victim she hid her story, hid herself and was unable to move forward after what had happened to her.

Although the man that raped Joanna Connors was sentenced to thirty years in prison, Joanna was left to live with the pain she was given and certainly did not deserve. Why is it that in our society rape is even occurring, let alone common enough to make statistics about it? Why are the rapists in many cases living with no punishments?

Michael Winship in Making it easy to get away with rape, elaborates on how in our world rape is becoming too common and too easy to get away with. “With evidence literally sitting on a shelf, just six percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.”

Why is this an okay thing to be taking place in our society? I am sick and tired of hearing the phrase “men cant help it, they were born and raised to feel dominate.” In my mind to be dominate means standing strong and protecting women and children, not taking things from them that aren’t yours to take.

In 1993 twenty-year-old Natasha Alexenko was raped and sodomized at gunpoint in the storage area of her Manhattan apartment building. Her assailant got away. After the incident a rape kit was administered and DNA evidence was collected, but it sat on a shelf, untested for nine years. It was sealed and nothing happened to it. This also occurred with 17,000 other rape kits around the city its self; they were taken and never examined.

When people think of rape, they think of awful thoughts and pity the victim. We seem to have a clear understanding that rape is wrong, but why is it becoming so common and so leisure? That is my question. There is no right or wrong answer, I just want people to sit back and realize the big picture. Yes rape is wrong; yes it is awful, but why? What is causing this wrong to become so frequent? Why is it not wrong enough that the rapists have to pay a price, only the victims?

The victims are left living with fear, a feeling that camouflages you from the real world. No one deserves to suffer from that feeling, no one deserves to wonder what could have been? And why did he get away with what he did? People deserve to feel safe, and be protected by our “dominate” and strong men.





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