Experts say Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s rape comments perpetuate dangerous stereotype of sexual violence

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A Texas law came into effect this month that bans six-week abortions with no exceptions for rape and incest, making it one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. When a reporter asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday what impact the law would have on rape and incest victims, he said he intended to “eliminate rape” in its state.

“Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to ensure that we take all rapists off the streets of Texas by aggressively getting out and arresting and chasing them and getting them off the streets,” a- he said on Tuesday. 1 in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, is raped. “

Sexual violence experts say Abbott’s approach is fundamentally flawed. When leaders suggest that it is possible to end sexual assault by capturing or containing all rapists, they fail to understand the pervasiveness of rape and the powerful cultural forces that shape a society that minimizes sexual violence, excuse the perpetrators and blame the victims.

Fear and shame prevent most rape victims from reporting their assaults to the police, making it difficult to identify the perpetrators. And often these abusers are not hiding in “the streets” – they are in women’s homes and workplaces, in their doctors’ offices and college dormitories.

Most victims of sexual violence know its perpetrators, and many are loved and even revered men. Nearly 40% of rapes are committed by an acquaintance and 33% are committed by an ex-spouse, according to the National Rape and Incest Network (RAINN). Less than a fifth of rapes are committed by strangers.

“Sexual assault is the least reported violent crime and the people who commit rape and sexual assault are people the victim knows and trusts,” said Laura Palumbo, director of communications at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. “We have many cases of doctors, coaches, teachers, government officials committing sexual assaults. The idea that these people are on the streets waiting to be captured is very inaccurate.”

The majority of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported

Almost 80% of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, according to a 2016 Justice Department analysis.

Abbott’s approach assumes that women are comfortable declaring (they are not) that they trust law enforcement (they do not) and that the legal system is equipped to do justice (it is not).

Women who report it often delay because rape is traumatic, unsettling, and because victims abused by people they know often have to question whether their experience was a violation in the first place.

According to RAINN, the reasons the survivors did not report are as follows:

  • Fear of retaliation

  • Belief that the police would do nothing to help

  • Believe the police could do nothing to help

  • Belief that it was not important enough to report

  • Reluctance to get the abuser in trouble

“More often than not what victims want is for the behavior to stop and for others not to run the risk of the abuse they have faced,” Palumbo said. “Many survivors don’t think it’s a realistic outcome to report to law enforcement and pursue the case through the criminal justice system.”

The vast majority of sex offenders escape prison. Out of 1,000 rapes, 995 perpetrators will never be incarcerated, according to an analysis of data from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted by RAINN.

What we know about sex offenders

There is no typical profile of a sex offender, wrote the nonprofit Futures Without Violence in 2013.

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“One of our psychological defenses against feeling vulnerable ourselves is to create this idea that it takes some kind of monster to commit sexual assault or any of those other types of sexual offenses,” said Sherry Hamby, professor of psychology at the University of the South and founding editor of the Psychology of Violence journal of the American Psychological Association.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference in June.

Abbott’s characterization fails to capture the charges against a president, Supreme Court justice, Hollywood producer, comedian, Olympic doctor. He fails to recognize that men who abuse women rely on the silence of those around them, and these men exist everywhere.

Analysis: The men who kept Harvey Weinstein’s secrets safe are all around us

Trauma-on-trauma for rape victims

Rose Luna, executive director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said the Texas abortion law adds another layer of trauma for survivors still reeling from their assaults.

“We believe that survivors deserve dignity, privacy and bodily autonomy at all levels, and as we work to prevent sexual assault, Texans and everyone else must face the reality of rape,” she declared. “Any restriction on a survivor’s right to choose is unacceptable.”

Rape and incest: They hardly represent any abortion. So why are they the center of attention?

Luna said that organizations fighting against sexual violence want to end rape. But they recognize it’s more complex than getting rapists off the streets.

“There are different ideas on how to achieve this, but eliminating it requires a monumental paradigm shift and coordination of ideals,” she said. “This will require a holistic approach that examines the points of intervention and how survivors are treated, as well as, on the other side of the coin, analyzing the conditions in society that allow these assaults to occur again and again. again without any liability. “

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas Abortion Law: Abbott Defends It With Dangerous Rape Commentary


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