One of the first things our professors, governments, or any episode of Law and Order teaches us, it is – You are innocent until proven guilty.
Seems like a pretty reasonable approach to a fair trial, right? But let’s pick that statement apart for a second. Innocent until proven guilty. What does “proven” mean? The definition of prove is as followed:
So basically innocent until proven guilty means a person shall remain innocent until someone provides proof of their guilt, simple right?
But what about when the proof isn’t something you can physically look at, touch or feel? What if the proof isn’t in a photograph, but rather in words? Words that describe a scene more graphic, more brutal and more disturbing than a photograph or any other physical form of evidence ever could?
Welcome to the world of rape. Have a seat.
Rape is where the statement “innocent until proven guilty” is tested at its highest definition. This is because rape cases are where the word “proven” gets blurred. You see, all too often there isn’t physical proof. There isn’t always some DNA sample or some ripped underwear you can show a jury and scream “SEE! LOOK! HERE IS THE RAPE!” Yes, there are rape kits, but rape kits are often left unused, untested and forgotten about. According to the Department of Justice, some 400,000 “rape kits” are languishing in evidence lockers across the country because local authorities can’t afford to process them. So not only are rape kits collecting DNA samples, they’re collecting dust as well. *claps for government*
So that leaves the victim to what? That’s right. Her word. This is her proof. This is her personal rape kit. But this is rape, and the “proof” just isn’t in her word.
Why, we ask. Why do we need physical proof to show a rape happened? This is because we live in a world where we have people like Bill Cosby, the “good ole dad” in The Cosby Show. The man who has spoken at numerous college graduations, received many honorary degrees AND the man who has used the media portrayal of him as his own personal shield in an attempt to deflect the more than 40 WOMEN WHO ACCUSED HIM OF DRUGGING THEM SO HE COULD RAPE THEM. We live in a world where we are more likely to believe Bill Cosby than woman after woman who bravely came forward to tell their own personal hell of the REAL Bill Cosby. We live in a world where we have to wait until there is a taped recording of Cosby ADMITTING to drugging these women to have sex with him for us to finally believe them.
These women didn’t come forward toting their rape kit, they came with their own testimony and it wasn’t good enough.
We need to stop living in a world where rape is treated like a disease. Where no one wants to touch it, look at it or hear anyone talk about it unless they can show them something. Rape isn’t a damn disease, it’s real life. Every 2 minutes a woman is raped in America, yet it is only estimated that 26% of these cases are reported to law enforcement. 80% of women don’t report rape because they lack the confidence that their perpetrator will be brought to justice. Why?
This is because we live in a world of Bill Cosby’s.
This is because we live in a world of Whoopi Goldberg’s defending the
This is because we have the wives of rapists’ standing by their man and not the victims.
This is because we live in a world where a woman’s testimony isn’t enough “proof”.
This is because we live in a world of rape.
We need to start putting more justice behind the victim‘s (or sometimes 40+ victims) word. Because unfortunately, this is all they have. I get it, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON THE VICTIM IS LYING. But let me tell you something, all too often they aren’t. All too often they come forward with their testimony thinking their case will be different, that people will believe them wholeheartedly, only to be shown that they are just simply another statistic in this world of rape.
So remember, every time you voice your doubts about the victim telling their story, you are silencing the next victim who thought about coming forward. You are silencing that young woman who will never forget what happened to her when she was a child. You are silencing that little girl who had her innocence taken away from her far too young. You are silencing your girl friends, your sisters, your mother and your future daughters. It’s time we stop welcoming people to the world of rape and start welcoming the world of justice.
Featured Image via Tumblr and Wikipedia.
awesome piece on such an important issue. thank you for writing this!!
This is such an amazingly well written article. Deserves a ton of attention, well done!