The 2018 presents a ray of hope for rape victims following the accusation, arrest, and indictments of high profile celebrities in the country. There are many prominent personalities in the history of the United States who have been accused of statutory, matrimonial rape, sexual assault, indecent harassment, and pedophilia but managed to escape imprisonment. Moreover, those who were sentenced received minimum jail sentences, which the victims regarded as lenient. However, the recent exposure of Bill Cosby, Polanski, and Harvey Weinstein sexual misconducts have provoked expansive conversations regarding sexual offence laws in the country. The complications with sexual litigations emanates from historical events that resulted to the creation of the Union. Slavery and colonization are irrefutably the major proponent of sexual violence in the country. There are limited literal texts that document this subject as an important aspect towards the development of the American society. According to the recorded medical reports, the nation experiences a sexual assault after 8 minutes. Moreover, only 0.6 % of cases are reported to law and policy authorities. In view of these findings, it is apparent that there is a need for increased awareness regarding the subject (Holmstrom, 2017). The purpose of these sexual activism programs must be to protect the rights and freedoms of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator as enshrined in the supreme constitution. Given the historically low number of indictments, many advocacy and help groups have emerged in the country to assist victims in processing civil or criminal litigations.
The case involves a 20 years old rape encounter with her ex-boyfriend following a drinking spree. As a result of the circumstances encompassing the crime, the public prosecutor rejects the litigation. The prosecutor’s conclusion is probably informed by confounding environment of the alleged offence. Some of the factors that complicates the incidence includes previous encounter between the complainant and the perpetrator, the supposed condition in which the crime occurred, and lack of sufficient evidence to indict the culprit (Michael Planty et al., 2016). Assumedly, there must be witnesses from the drinking hole who witnessed the social conduct of the couple. In addition to the effects of alcohol, the defendant’s attorney would probably argue that sex between the two was consensual. Although the rape crime happen, the burden of proof remains with the victim. On his part, the accused can present a narrative demonstrating that there was a prior mutual agreement between the two. In fact, He could even present a phone or other physical evidence to illustrate how the two rekindled their relationship. Furthermore, since both the victim and the charged were drunk, it would be difficult to prove that the sexual urges only emanated from the man. From a scientific perspective, alcohol inhibits cognitive reasoning and functions, thus, promoting a carefree and reckless attitude. As the effects of alcohol subsides, victims are usually engulfed with regrets, remorse, and even denial.
The United States laws on rape confers the greatest liability and responsibilities to the victim. For instance, after a rape incidence, the casualty is supposed to report the matter immediately. The aim of this rule is to preserve evidence that can be used for the prosecution of the perpetrators. Some of the proof of crime includes the used condom, torn clothes, site of the incident, and physical signs involved during the struggle. However, rape is among the greatest atrocities to human dignity and wellbeing. Rape incidents affect the victims physically and psychologically, thus, triggering a sense of denial (Holmstrom, 2017). Most sufferers often require counselling and time to heal by which time they decide to report the crime. Other casualties decides to take action upon discovering that they are pregnant or contracted some STI. By this time, most of the evidence involving the incidence are often inexistence or weak. With lack of concrete proof, most prosecutors often deem the accusation as obsolete if brought in front of a jury. Given that the victim is a 20 year old girl, it suffices to say that the cost of acquiring the services remains beyond her reach. For that reason, the remaining option is to seek option from non-governmental voluntary agencies or human rights organizations. Voluntary organizations are either funded by government or private institutions with the aim of protecting the rights of victims from marginalized society groups.
The Legal Right of Rape Victims against Perpetrators
The legal criteria of rape in the US differs depending on the various legislative acts of individual states. However, the common federal definition of the crime is anal, oral, or vaginal penetration without the victim’s consent. The penetrative act can be achieved using body organs or objects in a sexual manner. Given the ambiguity with earlier acts regarding the subject of rape, there have been several constitutional amendments to assist in the succinct description of the crime. These legal amendments extends the definition of rape from a non-consensual sexual to collaborate with other extenuating circumstances (Zinzow, Resnick, 2010). Given these legal amendments, the criteria for rape extends beyond consent and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrators. Thus, the victim in this case study can present her arguments according to the following statutes. First, she can argue that her cognitive judge was incapacitated by alcohol intake before the incident occurred. Her story may further be collaborated by the venue in which the alcoholic drinks were consumed. From a biochemical standpoint, alcohol intoxication is regulated by the Alcohol Dehydrogenases (ADH) enzymes, which are specific depending on individual’s genes. ADH action the body metabolism evokes varied reactions in the consumers. Some of the common behaviors with alcohol consumption include rage, mania, mood disorders, violence, depression, and other altered cognitive processes (Zinzow, Resnick et al, 2010). Given this scientific evidence, the victim can argue that her cognitive judgment was compromised by alcohol inhibition. Under Michigan State law, intoxicated individuals either by drugs or alcohol are incapable of consenting to sexual activity. In addition, the State of Massachusetts asserts that previous relationship cannot be used in law as proof of consent. Besides alcohol, the victim can argue that she was coerced into the act with threats to the physical or emotional self.
Current Research and Prevalence of Rape Crimes
Rape is a serious offence with great physical and mental challenges to the victim and to an extent the perpetrator. According to some medical studies, the researchers have associated the sex crime with mental disorders and sociological problems. For example, it is hypothesized that children from abusive families have difficulties in maintaining normal relationship. As they mature, these behavioral disturbed persons associated masculinity or femininity with aggressiveness. Consequently, these individuals develop sociopathic tendencies, and they use sex to demonstrate power rather than intimacy (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton, & McAuslan, 2007). Social factors such as lack diminished ethos may also facilitate sexual assault. For example, increased internet penetration has eased the accessibility of pornographic content in the community. The prevalence of the sex industry in the society promotes the sexual assault. According to a study conducted by the Campus Sexual Assault Institute of Justice (2007), approximately 50% of sexual assault perpetrators and victims presented with mental problems. Alcohol and drug abuse was indicated as the leading precursor for engaging in indecent and risky sexual behavior (Krebs et al., 2007). While the report is inclusive of sexual assault cases from both genders, majority of report originated from women.
The common trend among rape victims who cannot afford private legal representation is to seek help from voluntary organizations. However, the reports from this agencies indicate significant variance regarding the number of sexual violence that is reported in the country. Since these organizations receive funding according to the number of cases that they handle, there is a possibility that the figures are exaggerated. Nevertheless, the reports Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, (2016), indicate that sexual violence has decreased in the country by 63% since 1995.
The Option Available to the Victims in a Civil Court
Civil courts are mainly involved in resolving conflicts between individuals with the aim of seeking compensation. Under the civil courts, conflicting parties can mutually agree to settle the matter outside the court. Thus, the rape victim can seek damages to recover the costs involved in litigation and the medical expenses. In addition, the court can instruct the alleged perpetrator to offer apology and cater for psychiatric counseling for the victim. Sexual assault often leaves the victims traumatized and eager for quick solution. A civil option reduces excess logistics and legal burden that are involved in criminal proceedings (Karmen, 2012). Prominent personalities usually engage the victims in a non-disclosure agreements.
The main negative repercussion for a civil rape suit is that it does not provide closure to the victim. There are many reported cases of sexual victims who have attempted or committed suicide because of frustrations by the legal system. The emotional burden created by the incident does not immediately disappear despite the civil settlements. Some victims develop trust issues in relationships with their partners, friends, and even families. These are largely psychological issues, which require professional help and time for them to heal.
The type of crime committed in this case study is rape because the victim was intoxicated and, thus, unable to provide sexual consent. While the perpetrator was also intoxicated, his actions contravened state statutes that prevents sex with intoxicated persons. There is a need for creating amendments that mandate prosecutors to investigate all the reported cases of sexual assault. The prosecutor violated the victims’ rights of representation and expression in a court of law (Karmen, 2012). Available constitutional statutes on rape are sufficient and, therefore, there is no need for additional changes. However, investigating agencies must be compelled to remain unbiased to the victim regardless of the level of evidence. Moreover, the victim must be guaranteed with the right of representation in a court of law. The prosecutor should not project the expected judgment and outcome of the decision before a jury. Although rape is a single event that may only last for a few minutes, the effects are long term. There are financial costs that are involved in seeking medical treatments and legal redress. Moreover, the psychological impact of the traumatic event can lead to a decrease in productivity both at work, home, or school.