Application: Changes Over Time in the Treatment of Victims
Ancient religious scripture decreed the punishment of rape in the following ways: Married women would be killed, along with their attackers. Engaged women who did not “cry out” in fear would be stoned to death with their attackers, while those who did “cry out” would be spared—their attackers put to death. The rapists of single virgins would be forced into marriage with the women that they had “dishonored” and forbidden from ever divorcing them.
In ancient Roman law, and later, in 1600s Common Law of England, governments considered women the property of men and routinely implicated female rape victims in their own victimization. This treatment of female victims may call to mind a form of punishment. Female victims of rape experienced punishment just as if they were accomplices in their own attacks.
Some might argue that the remnants of such overt “victim blaming” still exist in the popular consciousness. As society has evolved, a paradigmatic shift has led the focus on protecting and supporting victims.
For this Assignment, review the interviews in this week’s Interactive Community. One interview is with a rape victim from the 1970s, while the other interview is with a rape victim from present time. Consider similarities and differences in how the victims were treated and think about the differences in services across the time periods.
The Assignment (2–3 pages):
- Visit the TWO cases below for this assignment.
- Compare similarities and differences between how the victims were treated in each time period.
- Explain how the lack of availability of services during each time period might have affected the treatment of the victims.
- Explain changes within the criminal justice system that might be implemented in the future to help improve treatment of the type of victim portrayed in the media interviews.
Two or three pages with at least three references….
It is important that you cover all the topics identified in the assignment. Covering the topic does not mean mentioning the topic BUT presenting an explanation from the readings.
To get maximum points you need to follow the requirements listed for this assignments 1) look at the page limits 2) review and follow APA rules 3) create SUBHEADINGS to identify the key sections you are presenting and 4) Free from typographical and sentence construction errors.
- Davis, R. C., Lurigio, A. J., & Herman, S. (Eds.). (2013). Victims of crime (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Chapter 12, “Legal Rights for Crime Victims in the Criminal Justice System”
- Chapter 17, “Victimization: An International Perspective”
- Wallace, H., & Roberson, C. (2011). Introduction and History of Victimology. In Victimology: Legal, psychological, and social perspectives. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ.
- Office for Victims of Crime. (n.d.). Directory of Crime Victim Services. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/findvictimservices/
- Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Rape victims. Baltimore, MD: Author.
“Rape Victims” Multimedia Program Transcript
EMILY: “Things were… different in the ‘70s. We didn’t always have the right name for what husbands did.”
EMILY: “We were young. I was just 28 then. 23 when we got married”
EMILY: “He went to happy hour after work, and when he came home I hadn’t made him his dinner yet and he got angry – which wasn’t new – and he hit me.”
EMILY: “The hitting wasn’t new either. It was what he did after that… that was new. That was rape. [PAUSE] It just wasn’t what the police would let me call it then.”
EMILY: “After my husband finally passed out, I took off. I just ran. I had nowhere to go, because I didn’t know about things like women’s shelters back then. The only thing I could think to do was to run to my sister’s house a few blocks away, so that’s what I did. And that’s when I called 911.”
EMILY: “The police in 1977 didn’t exactly believe that a husband really could ‘rape’ his wife. They listened to my story, but they didn’t bother taking any notes, and they didn’t call an ambulance – even after my sister kept telling them that this wasn’t the first time I had been hit. I wasn’t even given the option to file a police report.”
EMILY: “They just made it all seem like it was all part of the job, you know? ‘For better or for worse, until death do you part.’”
EMILY: “Eventually, my sister drove me to the hospital, and we waited for hours in the emergency room until we were finally allowed to see a doctor. He asked me a few questions, gave me a quick exam, wrote me a prescription for some pain medication and that was that. No mental health professionals came in, no social workers, no one took any pictures of my bruises, nothing. Just some aspirin.”
EMILY: “Did I ever press charges against my own husband? Boy, I’m glad that question doesn’t sound as crazy today as it did when I tried to back in ’77.”
EMILY: “That was the first year the state even had a marital rape law on the books. My sister told me I should press charges, and I knew she was right, but the lawyer I found wasn’t so sure.”
EMILY: “He said the law was ‘too new’ for a jury to really believe that a crime had actually been committed – especially because I hadn’t tried to defend myself when my husband first started attacking me.”
EMILY: “The hospital we went to didn’t administer a rape kit, and back then we didn’t even know that we could ask for one. So by the time we even thought about pressing charges, any evidence there might have been was long gone and all those bruises had healed. That was going to make proving the case incredibly difficult.”
EMILY: “Eighteen months. That’s how long it took my case to go to trial. By then, I’d moved in with my sister and I hadn’t seen my husband for months until I had to go to court and testify against him.”
EMILY: “And as I’m sitting there talking about what he’d done to me, I see him sitting there, staring at me. And some of his friends and his family are sitting there behind him, listening, and shaking their heads – not at him, but at me. Like they couldn’t believe I would accuse him of doing something so disgusting. Like there must be more to the story than just that, and what a terrible person I was to put him through all this.”
EMILY: “His lawyer asked me to describe, in vivid detail, not only everything that had happened between us that night, but also every little detail about our ‘regular sex lives. He was trying to say that because I hadn’t fought back, and because we did have consensual sex at other times, that what had happened that night couldn’t possibly be rape.”
EMILY: “And I’m sitting there trying to remember all those little details that happened 18 months ago, and it’s like I’m just fogging over. There would be times I’d be standing in the grocery store and I’d just freeze, stone still in the cereal aisle, because it would all come back to me in a rush and I’d remember everything. And yet there I am, trying to answer this man’s questions and all I keep doing is forgetting little bits and pieces.”
EMILY: “Eventually, the judge threw the case out due to lack of evidence. So I spent almost two years calling off work so I could go to court, using up my vacation time so I could try to prove that my husband had raped me, and in the end it was all for nothing. Just a lot of money wasted and a lot of unpaid sick days I spent at home in bed alone, wondering what I’d done to deserve this.”
EMILY: “And he never spent a day in jail for any of it. Not for a minute.”
JOAN: “I just ran straight to the shelter. I’d never even been inside that shelter before. But a girl at work had given me a pamphlet from there – ‘just in case,’ is what she said at the time – and I remember thinking, ‘When would I ever need to go there?’ Because I never had a reason to… until that morning.”
JOAN: “That was the morning my husband finally thought that he had proof that I was cheating on him, and he figured he was gonna punish me for it.”
JOAN: “He’d already hit me a few times before, when he felt like I deserved it, but he had never forced me to have sex before. Not like that. Not that angry.”
JOAN: “My first thought wasn’t to call the police. My first thought was, ‘I need to get to that shelter.’ So as soon as he got up and went to take a shower, I just threw on whatever I could find to wear and I ran all the way to that shelter.”
JOAN: “There was a volunteer working there named Maria. She could tell I was in trouble, so she asked me what happened. I was shaking so bad, I don’t even think I was making any sense.”
JOAN: “But Maria knew what I meant. She said to me, ‘So, your husband raped you?’ And I said, “Well, I don’t know…” And that’s when Maria said, “If anyone, even your husband, forces you to have sex against your will, it’s rape. We need to get you to the hospital, and we need to call the police.”
JOAN: “So Maria helped me get myself together, and then she arranged for me to be taken into emergency care at the hospital. She also asked them to perform a rape kit to gather any physical evidence.”
JOAN: “While I was there, a social worker came to see me and she got a case file started for me. And when that was all over, Maria brought me back to the shelter, where she’d made me up a room with a bed and some fresh clothes, and she said I could stay here as long as I needed, until I felt like I was ready to leave.”
JOAN: “I spent a couple weeks here, all told. But in a way, I guess I never really left. Because when I was here, I talked with Maria and the other counselors and volunteers about all the years of physical and emotional abuse my husband had put me through, and they told me I was not alone. And the longer I stayed here, the more women I met who’d been through the same things I’d been through, or their sisters, or their mothers. Some of them, they were still going through it, even then. Even now. So that’s why I go back there now, to volunteer. Because by the time I was ready to leave, I was even more ready to come back and help the next person like me who came through that door.”
JOAN: “A police officer came to the shelter on that first day to take a statement from me, and he tried to get as much detail as he could about what happened. He told me I was entitled to victim’s compensation for any expenses I had to pay for this case, if I decided to press charges. Even the emergency room bill would be covered by the state.”
JOAN: “The big thing I remember was my lawyer telling me, ‘If they try asking you any questions about your own sexual past, don’t say a word. You just pause, and I’ll motion for an objection.’”
JOAN: “That’s because the rape shield laws we have now forbid anybody from bringing up anything like that. Lawyers used to try to make a woman sound promiscuous, so it would look like she was the one who was responsible for getting raped. And then the jury might start thinking that a woman maybe brought that rape on herself.”
JOAN: “My husband is currently in jail, serving a five year sentence for spousal rape. By the time we went to court, marital rape laws had been on the books for thirty years, so there was a lot of precedent for a case like mine. That didn’t mean it was easy.”
JOAN: “I still had to rebuild my whole life without him – without the abuse, without the physical, emotional, and psychological trauma that he had caused me for so long. But the shelter helped me find a therapist and a support group for victims of domestic abuse. So even though he was gone, I didn’t have to heal all by myself. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to feel like I was alone.”