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Russian Roulette of Rape

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 15:17 p.m. EDT, 19 July 2011

Rape Victim, Photo by Reinfried Marass (http://reinfriedmarass.com/blog/)

Reinfried Marass, Photographer

As a victim of rape I am intimately acquainted with the difficulties women face when confronted by the decision to report the violation. I was brutally date raped by boy who I knew and trusted. What has remained with me thirty years hence was the utter indifference exhibited by other attendees of the party who chose to ignore my cries for help.

When a woman is raped, if she chooses to report the violation, she risks a second violation by the criminal justice system. In almost all cases the defense employs offensive measures by thoroughly investigating her background until they unearth some lapse in judgment, preferably sexual.  She will face character assassination and if this doesn’t dissuade her, the specter of a protracted public trial often encourages her to move forward with her life and to try and put it all behind.

I reported my case to a school counselor who tried to persuade me to contact the police but I refused out of fear of reprisal, stigmatization, ostracization.  The rapist had already besmirched my name by telling other schoolmates that I was a ‘slut’ and that I wanted it.  Since this occurred in my senior year I chose not to attend my graduation and never looked back.

In hindsight my decision not to report the incident to the police may not have been the correct choice, but it was probably best given my age and circumstances.  However, it dramatically affected my ability to trust men and resulted in severe dysfunction which subsequently damaged many of my future relationships.

When an older woman reports rape she is at greatest risk of being victimized by the system.  Most women have history, especially woman who are past the age of consent which is 18 in America. Many women in this age bracket  have had multiple sexual encounters that include marriage or long-term partnerships.  Unlike the accused, her background is dissected with a fine tooth comb, while the perpetrator need only proclaim that he is innocent and the sexual encounter was consensual.

Thus, the chances of a rapist remaining free is fairly high and the risk of him getting caught is akin to playing Russian roulette.  The chances of him getting punished decreases with each subsequent rape, but if he is prone to this type of antisocial behavior, he is willing to take that risk because he understand the psychology of his chosen victims who will most likely remain silent.

This post began in response to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case which has faded quietly from the public’s eye amid allegations that the woman was in fact a prostitute who had attempted on previous occasions to file false rape charges.  Only Strauss-Kahn and the maid will ever know the truth. However, even if the allegations advanced by Strauss-Kahn’s defense team are true, it does not negate the possibility that this time she told the truth.

It doesn’t matter if you are a prostitute, stripper or a wife, non-consensual sex is rape and “No!” means “NO!”

Photos by Reinfried Marass. All Rights Reserved. Contact photographer for permission for reprint.

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

9 Comments on “Russian Roulette of Rape”

  1. cliffharrison Says:

    I’m sorry to learn of your horrible experience. I don’t care if a girl is a prostitute or wears ultra revealing clothing, no one has the right to touch her. I’ve never understood the “justice” system probing the background of rape victims. It does not matter. If a home owner leaves their doors unlocked and their windows open, although it is a poor decision, does it give perpetrators free right to enter? Because you invite friends into your home does it give the friend the right to free reign or to use what they want? No, it’s not their home. I’ve had some people suggest it was strange because I always ask to use the bathroom, no matter how many times I visit or how well I know the friend. It’s something my parents taught me, to respect others and their property. Disrespect for self and others leads to discipline problems that others, unfortunately suffer needlessly for.

    Reply

  2. joanabbey Says:

    I was raped too. It was a gangbang-rape in a pub. All the customers in the pub abused me sexually. There were also women who stood by and did nothing to assist me. That was now 12 years ago – and I am still suffering. Since that time my sexual behaviour has changed for the negative and I engage in many inappropriate sexual encounters. The only way to get over such trauma is to get good mental healing after such a traumatic thing that happened to us. Only in this way can we put this painful experience be put behind in the past where it belongs, otherwise we will forever remained trapped in the past.

    Joan

    Reply

    • lateram Says:

      The thing is that this has already passed. Now what you have to do is to get healed from the psychological pain of this. No matter what you will be whatever you want. This won’t hold you back!!

      Reply

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