Rape. It is such a harsh word - and one of which I feel is used far to frequently within day to day life, from anyone messing around using it as a joke, to the social networking terminology 'frape'. Maybe I am lacking a sense of humour here, I really don't know, but I do believe that for the seriousness of the crime we should learn to use it in context and for the correct purpose it was defined.
However, that's not even why I am writing this article, so I'll just get on with it.
It came to my attention recently that we are living in a world of extreme naivety, where people are questioning and are making sweeping generalisations over sexual accusations of rape & assault, simply because of the length of time it may take for the alleged victim(s) to come forward. They honestly believe that should something so sinister happen it wouldn't take years to report, or that if a member of the public found out, they would go to the police with any information.
In relation to the last sentence, I'd like to think so too, but sadly, that just isn't the case.
According to Rapecrisis.org.uk:
'Only 15% of serious sexual offences against people 16 and over are reported to the police and of the rape offences that are reported, fewer than 6% result in an offender being convicted of this offence.'
'40% of adults who are raped tell no one about it. 31% of children who are abused reach adulthood without having disclosed their abuse. This means that victims don't get the support they need to deal with the abuse or violence they have experienced.'
Those statistics are truly shocking, but it shows us that rape and sexual assault victims still feel that as a society we are not supporting them enough. Obviously everyone is entitled to a freedom of speech, but maybe we need to engage our brains and/or take a minute to research the unknown, in order to answer our own questions before making crass and insensitive comments. We're currently living in a world were can shout (rightly or wrongly) our opinions from the rooftops via several formats and forms of communication. But if we want to give out our opinions, we should at least gain an intermediate level of understanding on a subject many know nothing, or indeed very little, about.
We all need to look towards the bigger picture as to why victims of crime feel they are not able to come forward. Let's not get dragged down into a society of idle gossip and chitter chatter, where we feel obliged to become experts and instead contribute nothing but ignorance and damage, which will not help in any situation.
End naivety - we don't live in a perfect world - but we can change it to some place worth living.
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