Opinion: How Not to Comment on Sexual Assault Cases « CBS Chicago
For one, a majority of rapes are never reported. In 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 66% of rapes were not reported to police. And of the 84,376 reported rapes that occurred in the US in 2012, according to the FBI, only 16 percent (about 12,500) of those cases actually led to arrest. Even if over 60% — as the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates — of these arrests lead to a conviction, that’s still a fraction of rapists actually seeing jail time. It’s possible that as few as 6% of rapists serve jail time. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network feels that number may be as low as 2%. Sadly, we do such an atrocious job of keeping accurate track of these statistics, it’s difficult to tell for certain, though whatever number you come to is likely to be far lower than other violent crimes.
Part of the problem is rape kits.
Nationwide, rape kits have been horribly mishandled and Illinois is no exception. After it was found that most rape kits in Illinois never get tested, the state government attempted to pass laws to ensure this never happens again. And even with a requirement that rape kits must be tested within six months, sources have disclosed that a current backlog means it might take as much as a year for a rape kit to be tested in Illinois. This has helped lead to a sexual assault arrest rate in Illinois that’s substantially lower than the national average.
Another part of the problem? A lack of police training.
According to many advocates, police officers are rarely trained adequately enough to handle sexual assault cases. Though crime investigations far and wide put the focus on the offender, rape investigators will often focus on the victim, treating them as if they are under investigation. For any other violent crime, this would be a peculiar practice, yet it’s widely accepted it comes to rape investigations. This flies in the face of the fact that unfounded cases of rape are rare.
With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder that many victims never report their sexual assaults. They face hell from not only their accusers, but the justice system and the public at large. With such a small chance of success, why would anyone want to put themselves through such a horrible ordeal?
This is why it’s dangerous to casually speak out against rape victims…