I encourage sexual assault victims to do the right thing: report this violence, or it will never stop.
According to statistics compiled by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):
1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
17.7 million women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.
Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
Approximately 2/3 of rapes were completed by someone known to the victim.
60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police
In the 39% of attacks that are reported, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in jail.
Factor in the the unreported rapes and that means 6% of rapists will never spend a day in jail – 15 out of 16 walk free.
It is sad to say that these are the shocking, mind blowing truths about how sexual assault and rape are very serious crimes that are often times swept under the rug in today’s society. The fact that we are training our youth and younger generation to jump around the topic of sexual engagement has contributed to the amount of unwanted sexual contact/ sexual assault/ rape going unreported.
We have taught our victims that in our criminal justice system “not everyone receives justice, so it’s alright to just let what happens to continue!” We have given hope to our offenders by letting them know that, because victims not reporting crime, the chances are in their favor that they will be one of the cases that are “skipped around “or “the cops won’t know about it.”
This results in the continuation of their violent behavior, because so many perpetrators have already gotten away with it and too many weren’t even reported. It is as if the roles have been reversed and we have done nothing for our victims and have given our offenders everything.
I believe that it is the duty of victims to do the right thing, even when it’s the hardest thing to do—nobody said that doing things the right way would always be the easy way. I am a firm believer that by just one person doing the right thing, it takes on a domino effect and encourages others to what is right. I want to encourage those who are or will be reading this blog to DO THE RIGHT THING!!
For that boy, girl, woman, and man, who may have stumbled upon this blog and is a victim or has been victimized, I won’t promise you things will be easy, but I promise that your life will begin to change once you have spoken and allowed your voice to be heard. You will be able to see the world from places that are far better than those dark, cold places where you’ve been waiting to be heard. I know, because I speak from experience.
I was a victim of sexual assault and rape for more than 3 years. My offender happened to be my step father at the time. I lived in what would be considered a dysfunctional home where he beat my mother and sexually assaulted her on a regular basis, as well as my brother, my sister, and me.
I made the decision to speak up after not being heard and coming face to face with my pain and all that was damaged and lost because of it. I spoke up and I was heard. This resulted in my whole family stepping forward and speaking out on the things that had taken place.
Years later I met my first best friend who was being abuse by her step father. Ironically, I picked up on the similar things I did when I was a victim. After telling her how I overcame my struggle, we sat down with her mother and brought the situation to her attention—it was dealt with immediately. Her step father was charged with several counts of rape/ child molestation, proven guilty, and was sentenced. He is currently serving time in prison.
It is my hope that those who read this will join my movement to get involved and let your voices be heard. I hope that victims across the world realize “you have a say in what happens with your case!” The journey will be well worth it, everything will be alright in the end. If things are not alright, then it’s not the end!
Written by Ci’Yasia Blackman, a Junior at VUU majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice.