TIME India

6-Year-Old Gang-Raped in Indian School by Staff Members, Say Police

Demonstrators from AIDWA hold placards and shout slogans during protest against recent killings of two teenage girls, in New Delhi
Demonstrators from the All India Democratic Women's Association hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the rape and murder of two teenage girls, in New Delhi on May 31, 2014 Adnan Abidi—Reuters

India’s National Crime Records Bureau says one rape was reported in India every 21 minutes last year

Furious parents are protesting outside a prominent school in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, where a 6-year-old girl was allegedly raped by two members of staff.

Police say the July 2 assault has only now been reported after the girl complained of stomach pains and was taken by her parents to seek medical attention, reports the BBC.

No arrests have yet been made, but family members of pupils at the school have reacted with considerable anger, tearing down the building’s gates and haranguing staff.

“They have handled [the matter] very shoddily,” Vivek Sharma, the father of a student, told the BBC.

The case will be a test for new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promised during his election campaign to protect the nation’s 614 million women, but raised eyebrows with a first budget that earmarked only $25 million for women’s safety but $33 million for the world’s largest statue in his home state of Gujarat.

Sexual violence in India has become headline news since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a medical student aboard a bus in the capital New Delhi. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, during 2013, one rape was reported every 21 minutes, despite the vast majority of attacks believed to go unreported.

[BBC]

TIME Opinion

Todd Akin Still Doesn’t Get What’s Wrong With Saying ‘Legitimate Rape’

Todd Akin
Then-U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)) address the media on September 24, 2012 in Kirkwood, Missouri. (Whitney Curtis--Getty Images) Whitney Curtis—Getty Images

He says it's a law enforcement term. It's not.

Former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin went on MSNBC Thursday morning to try to explain his much-maligned comments from 2012 in which he said abortions wouldn’t be necessary for rape victims. “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” he told a St. Louis TV station in 2012.

Akin was on MSNBC to promote his new book, Firing Back, but he also took it as an opportunity to explain his earlier flub. “Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term, it’s an abbreviation for ‘legitimate case of rape,'” he told Chuck Todd. “A woman calls a police station, the police investigate, she says ‘I’ve been raped,’ they investigate that. So before any of the facts are in, they call it a legitimate case of rape,” explained Aiken.

 

But is ‘”legitimate rape” really a law enforcement term? We asked some experts.

“I’ve taught police officers, and worked with police officers on every continent in the world, and that’s something I’ve never heard in my 50 years in law enforcement,” says Dr. James A. Williams, former Chief of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces for the U.S Department of Justice, who also worked in municipal law enforcement in New Jersey. “I’ve never heard of that. Never.”

Richard Lichten, a veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and expert on sexual assault investigations agrees:

“I have 30 years of experience, I’m qualified to testify in federal court on the way to investigate sexual assault crimes, and I’ve never heard of that,” said Lichten. “In all my life I’ve never heard of that.”

Nonetheless, Akin believes that everyone took what he said out of context. “This was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes. It doesn’t make any sense to say ‘a conservative is saying that rape is legitimate,’ that doesn’t even add up.”

But the real problem isn’t that people think conservatives are pro-rape, it’s that Akin’s comment sounds like victim-blaming. By calling some rapes “legitimate,” he is (perhaps unintentionally) implying that some aren’t. And that has lead his critics to say that Aikin wants to make sure that a woman’s claim of rape is “legitimate” and that they aren’t just making it up to get a free abortion or something.

Once the topic of abortion came up, the interview took an even more controversial turn. When asked point-blank whether rape victims should be allowed to have abortions if they get pregnant, Akin turned it around. “Should the child conceived in rape have the same right to live as a child conceived in love?” he said. “I had a number of people in my campaign that were children…who were conceived in rape.” That assertion was not immediately verifiable.

Chuck Todd (rightly) pointed out that if Akin had staffers who were conceived from rape, then wouldn’t that disprove his theory that women can “shut that whole thing down?” Yes, according to logic, but all Akin had to say was: “I believe that little children are special.”

 

 

TIME Crime

Here’s What Happens When You Get a Rape Kit Exam

It takes a lot longer and is more invasive than you think

+ READ ARTICLE

Updated: July 22, 4:00 p.m.

Getting a rape kit collected is no picnic. The process can last up to four hours, and involves getting poked, prodded, swabbed and photographed in exactly the places a rape victim would have been violated in an attack.

“There’s a lot of myths about there, myths about prostitutes coming in to get free medical care, but this is a very invasive 2-4 hour plus exam,” says Kim Hurst, director of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner program in Detroit. “We’re doing pubic hair pulls or combs, we’re doing swabs of the outside of the genitalia… and then we’re doing a speculum exam [which is internal] and taking swabs that way, and if there was an anal assault we’re doing swabs there. And then we use a colposcope [a specialized medical camera] to take pictures of genital injury.”

The exam is usually performed in a hospital before the kit of evidence is turned over to the police for their investigation. The DNA from the kit and potential rapist is entered into CODIS, a national FBI database that helps law enforcement track serial offenders across the country.

But as TIME reported this week, thousands of rape kits across the country have been shelved and forgotten without being tested. According to a 2011 report from the National Institute of Justice, 18% of all unsolved rapes between 2002 and 2007 involved forensic evidence that had never been processed. In 2009, over 11,000 forgotten rape kits were discovered in a Detroit police warehouse, which means 11,000 potential victims went through the rape kit collection process, only to have the evidence discarded. Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy has been setting an example for how best to clear the backlog and prosecute the cold cases, but other cities could follow her lead; Phoenix has almost 3,000 backlogged kits, Dallas has over 4,000, and Memphis has over 12,000. That’s why the House of Representatives recently passed $41 million to test backlogged kits and investigate the cold cases.

“The bottom line, by testing these rape kits, we can identify serial rapists, put them behind bars, and bring the ultimate nightmare of the women raped to an end,” said Vice President Joe Biden when he asked Congress in March for the backlog funding in Obama’s 2015 budget. The bill has yet to pass the Senate.

Pick up this week’s issue of TIME to find out more on how investigators in Detroit are leading the way in clearing the rape kit backlog and getting victims overdue justice, or follow this link.

 

With special thanks to Monica Pombo and the Crime Victims Treatment Center at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s in Manhattan.

TIME India

Yet Another Teen Girl Raped in India for Apparent Revenge

Demonstrators from AIDWA hold placards and shout slogans during protest against recent killings of two teenage girls, in New Delhi
Demonstrators from All India Democratic Women's Association hold placards and shout slogans in New Delhi on May 31, 2014, during a protest against the recent killings of two teenage girls Adnan Abidi—Reuters

Village leader is accused of ordering girl's rape to make up for her brother's alleged misconduct

A teenage girl has been raped in a suspected case of “retaliatory justice” in India’s eastern state of Jharkhand, according to police.

The 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped after villagers accused her brother of assaulting another woman, reports the BBC.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the attack, including the village leader who is accused of ordering the rape as a method of “eye-for-an-eye” justice.

The alleged crime comes amid burgeoning recognition in India that sexual violence has reached crisis proportions since the gang rape and murder of a female student aboard a private bus in the capital New Delhi in 2012. Four of the attackers in that case were sentenced to death, and the Indian government has since enacted several reforms designed to curb violence against women.

In the most recent attack, the head of a remote village in Jharkhand allegedly gave the order to have the teenager raped after her brother committed “misbehavior” toward another woman. The girl was taken to a hospital and has made a police statement, reports the BBC.

“This rape happened out of retaliation,” Jharkhand police chief Rajiv Kumar told the BBC.

[BBC]

TIME Opinion

16-Year Old Gives Television Interview After Alleged Rape Photos Went Viral

Victim was mocked with #jadapose until supporters flooded the hashtag with encouragement and outrage

A 16-year old girl who says she was drugged and raped at a party spoke out on Houston local TV about how it felt to have images of her alleged assault circulated around social media.

While rape victims are are usually kept strictly anonymous, some survivors are beginning to speak out against their attackers, especially when the assault makes its way onto social media. Daisy Coleman, the Maryville teen who was viciously cyberbullied after she publicly accused a fellow high school student of raping her, was one of the first survivors to publicly identify herself, but others are following suit. Some victims have even taken to Twitter to publicly discuss their experiences with sexual assault.

“Anonymity has always been the default,” said Jennifer Marsh, VP of Victim Services at Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. “But in the cases we’ve seen recently—everything is already out there. Her face was out there. So at that point it’s a question of regaining control of the narrative of what happened to you.”

The Houston teen, identified only as Jada, said she went to a party with friends where the host gave her a drink she now believes was spiked with a drug. She passed out, and doesn’t remember anything from when she was unconscious. It wasn’t until Jada saw disturbing pictures and tweets on social media, that she believed she’d been raped. “Everybody knows,” Jada told KHOU 11. “And everybody’s texting me are you OK? You’re going to be OK, and I was like alright.” (TIME doesn’t usually identify rape victims, but we are making an exception in this instance because Jada wanted to come forward.)

It’s not immediately clear who originally tweeted the photos, because the photos have been mostly removed and some Twitter handles of people close to the incident have been de-activated. But the pictures soon went viral under the hashtag #jadapose, allegedly referring to the position of her body in the photographs. The alleged rapist was reportedly denouncing Jada and her story before his Twitter account was deactivated, including one tweet that said “HOW ITS RAPE? YOU HAD 2 MONTHS TO SAY SOMETHING BUT YOU AINT SAY [SH*T] TILL YOU GET EXPOSED?”

Other Twitter users followed suit, using the hashtag to mock Jada:

https://twitter.com/lowkeyitsmoe/status/486718561075724288/photo/1

The original photographs have since been reported and mostly removed and Jada’s supporters have started a Twitter backlash and used the hashtag in her defense.

And now she’s angry. “I had no control,” said Jada. “I didn’t tell anyone to take my clothes off and do what they did to me.”

The circumstances of Jada’s decision to come forward are truly horrific and no teenager should have to endure the double violation of a rape and then a social media maelstrom at her expense, and no victim should feel she has to identify herself in order to stop abuse. But maybe there’s a silver lining in this strategy for survivors. By coming forward, Jada traded her anonymity for a face and a voice, and with identity comes a certain kind of power.

 

 

TIME Sports

University of Miami Linebackers Charged With Sexual Battery

Jawand Blue Alex Figueroa
University of Miami football players Jawand Blue and Alex Figueroa on July 8, 2014 AP

Linebackers Alex Figueroa and Jawand Blue were dismissed from the team after being charged with performing sexual acts on an incapacitated teenager

The University of Miami football team on Tuesday permanently dismissed two players who have been charged with committing sexual battery.

Athletic director Blake James said in a statement that linebackers Alex Figueroa and Jawand Blue were banned from the team and barred from entering campus until the university had concluded an investigation into the incident.

“Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious,” James said in the statement, “and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus.”

Figueroa and Blue were arrested Tuesday after a 17-year-old girl accused the players of giving her a substance that left her “mentally or physically incapacitated,” CBS Miami reports. The players reportedly turned themselves into police and admitted to buying the girl multiple drinks. She alleged that they then took her back to Figueroa’s dorm room and performed sexual acts without her consent.

TIME sexuality

‘I’m a Survivor of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence–And I’m a Man’

Silhouetted man through window
Getty Images

The crisis of campus sexual violence can't be solved without addressing other populations that are at surprisingly high risk.

The topic of campus rape has been making its way to Congress and the White House, and coverage of this issue has increasingly been making headlines. But conspicuously absent from the conversation is the narrative of male and queer survivors.

My name is John Kelly, and I’m a survivor of rape and intimate partner violence. I was raped twice while in college, but one of my experiences doesn’t fit into traditional definitions of rape. While incapacitated, a male former intimate partner performed oral sex on me. The amount of pain and anguish that rape caused me was no different than that of my other rape, a more widely accepted iteration in which I was forcibly penetrated.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my experiences, in large part because I didn’t have the language to articulate them. The confusion, fear and shame I felt, coupled with my school’s inability to respond, contributed to an attempted suicide and subsequent hospitalization only weeks after my second attack. Rape and intimate partner violence are rarely spoken of within the queer community, or with male survivors.

Last week I became the first person ever to testify before Congress on same-sex dating violence. My hope is that as coverage of this topic increases and begins featuring a greater diversity of voices, the stigma surrounding same-sex sexual violence will dissipate. I hope that as this becomes something we feel more comfortable talking about, survivors will easily be able to receive the help needed, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.

TIME’s recent cover story on campus sexual violence was much needed, and activists and survivors across the country are moved to see such stories making national headlines. But TIME didn’t mention male survivors or queer survivors once. Indeed, women experience sexual violence at higher rates than men, due in part to gender norms. The effects of sexual control, coercion and violence of men against women cannot be overstated. Men commit rape at significantly higher rates than women. The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) shows that 98% of female rape victims and 93% of male rape victims report having only male perpetrators.

The gender norms that allow men to rape at such staggering rates also create ideals of masculinity that silence male survivors. The percent of male survivors is higher than generally understood, particularly among at-risk demographics such as queer and gender nonconforming men. The NISVS showed that 1 in 71 men are victims of rape (forced oral or anal penetration), and nearly 1 in 5 men experience some other form of sexual violence (such as the 5% of men who have been made to penetrate someone else.)

Using the more inclusive definition of rape as any forced/nonconsensual penetration—including being made to penetrate—the same study shows that 6.2% of men are rape survivors, about 1 in 15. A 2011 survey of studies investigating same-sex sexual violence, published in Trauma Violence Abuse, found the median rates of rape for gay or bisexual men was 30%, and 43% for lesbian or bisexual women. The 2008 book Social Work Practice with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People found that 25%-33% of all surveyed same-sex relationships involved domestic violence. Other research shows rates of sexual assault victimization in the transgender community may be greater than 50%. I cannot prioritize either of my rapes, and neither should statistics or the law. Sexual violence in the LGBT community is an epidemic.

These types of assaults—against men, against queer people and between people of the same sex—are happening on our college campuses. While the narratives are few and far between, we are finding our voices.

While major publications have often chosen to focus on predominantly straight, white female narratives, populations that are at high risk for sexual violence are being ignored in a way that continues to be detrimental to the safety of these communities—my community. We must include narratives of people of color, queer people and trans people to show the varied forms of sexual violence on college campuses and beyond. Only then will we begin to solve the crisis of sexual violence in higher education, and the epidemic of LGBTQ sexual violence.

John Kelly is a rising senior at Tufts University, where he studies religion. He is the Special Projects Organizer and an ED ACT NOW Organizer for Know Your IX, and a certified rape crisis counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He tweets at @john_m_kelly.

TIME

Man Convicted in Rape, Murder of College Student

DOVER, N.H. — A jury on Friday convicted a 31-year-old man of killing and raping a University of New Hampshire college student following a trial filled with lurid details of sexual domination, experimentation and violence.

The jury in Strafford Superior Court found Seth Mazzaglia guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott of Westborough, Massachusetts, in October 2012.

The key witness, 20-year-old Kathryn McDonough, was Mazzaglia’s girlfriend when she lured Marriott to their apartment. She testified that Mazzaglia wanted another woman to join their sexual escapades, which included bondage and discipline.

McDonough first told investigators that Marriott died during rough sex between the two women that involved restraints. After getting immunity from prosecution, McDonough changed her story and said Mazzaglia strangled Marriott then raped her. After Marriott was dead, Mazzaglia and McDonough dumped her body in river. It has never been found.

Mazzaglia was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder that stated he strangled Marriott “before, after or while” sexually assaulting her. He also was convicted of conspiracy to falsify evidence and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

Mazzaglia showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.

He will be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Marriott’s father, Bob, said the family is grateful for the verdict but that even a life sentence will never soothe their grief. Marriott gave a police officer a bear hug after the verdicts were read.

“We will always miss her and we wonder what could have been,” Marriott said, his voice quavering. “In fact, the trial has been torturous for us. The truth of what happened to Lizzi is horrendous. And every time it’s been told, it has reinforced the despair that we feel.”

Marriott said the verdict will keep a dangerous man off the streets and protect other women.

He also had harsh words for Mazzaglia’s lawyers for what he called intentionally misstating his daughter’s action the night she died.

“Blaming a victim who is unable to defend herself is a typical ploy used by defense teams. If you are dead, you cannot correct a mischaracterization,” he said.

Mazzaglia’s lawyers did not comment after the verdict.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday, after hearing 19 days of testimony. McDonough was on the stand for 10 of those days.

The trial hinged on McDonough’s credibility. Mazzaglia did not testify.

McDonough initially told investigators that she killed Marriott during consensual sex but later said she made that story because she loved Mazzaglia, thought they still had a future together and wanted to protect him.

Defense lawyers, though, painted her as an opportunistic liar who killed Marriott then changed her story when she found out she could cut a deal and get less time in prison if she pinned the crime on her ex-boyfriend.

The deal was conditioned on her testifying truthfully and juror Maria Clifford said the panel thought she did.

“The main thoughts were that she was a pathological liar most of her life and up until she took that witness stand, her life had been based upon lie after lie after lie,” said Clifford, 52. “I think Mr. Mazzaglia had control over her and she was afraid of him. We just thought, ‘She’s on the witness stand now and she doesn’t have anything left to lose,’ and she came to the realization that ‘I need to do the right thing.'”

Clifford said she approached the trial as if Mazzaglia was one of own family members.

“Everybody deserves a fair trial, no matter what they did,” she said.

In court, McDonough testified that Mazzaglia was the sexually dominant partner in their relationship and became angry when she left for nearly two weeks at theater camp without recruiting a sex partner for him. As what she called punishment, Mazzaglia told her to lure a woman — Marriott — to the apartment on Oct. 9, 2012.

After a game of strip poker which prosecutors say Marriott willingly joined, Mazzaglia suggested she kiss McDonough. Marriott said no, saying she was in a committed relationship. Mazzaglia then asked if she would watch as he and McDonough had sex. She again said no.

Prosecutors said the domineering Mazzaglia was unaccustomed to being rejected so, as the two women watched a movie, he sneaked up behind Marriott and choked her with a rope. McDonough testified that she left the room briefly and when she returned, found Mazzaglia raping Marriott’s limp body.

Mazzaglia’s lawyers said McDonough, who pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and is spending 1 ½ to 3 years in prison, was interested in experimenting with women and initiated the sexual activity that night in the apartment she shared with Mazzaglia.

TIME Education

Report: California Colleges Must Do More to Combat Sexual Violence

Stanford And Berkeley Rank Among Top 3 Universities In The World
Pedestrians walk by Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus on May 22, 2014 in Berkeley, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

A report from a state auditor says some California colleges aren't complying with the law

Some key employees at California’s public colleges and universities are not adequately trained to handle reports of sexual violence and harassment, according to a report by the state’s auditor published Tuesday. The report also said about one-fifth of students at the four campuses surveyed were unaware of college resources available to victims of sexual assault and harassment.

The report, which recommends the California legislature amend state law to increase training and awareness campaigns on campuses, comes as the issue of sexual violence at colleges and universities has reached a new level of public consciousness. Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California, announced on June 20 she was creating a new task force to guide efforts to combat sexual violence and harassment on the system’s campuses. The Obama Administration created a White House task force on the issue back in January.

The California report was generated in part as a response to accusations that officials at the University of California, Berkeley underreported sex crimes and were slow to investigate allegations of sexual assault. These accusations were leveled in complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, helping land Berkeley on a list of more than 50 higher education institutions now under federal investigation.

The most recent complaint, filed in February, came from 31 current and former students who said the university did not investigate sexual assault allegations in a timely manner and did not keep alleged victims informed of the progress of investigations. (The University has since issued a new policy on sexual misconduct.) In April 2013, a student government group at Berkeley issued a “no confidence” vote on the university’s disciplinary policies and procedures related to sexual assault.

The 113-page report says none of the four high education institutions studied—the University of California at Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Chico; and San Diego State University—distributed a sexual harassment policy to all employees on an annual basis, a violation of state law. The auditor also found uneven compliance with an earlier state legislature recommendation that colleges provide targeted education about sexual assault and rape to certain student groups. Fraternities and sororities at Berkeley and student athletes at San Diego State University, for example, provided no such education programs in any of the last five academic years, according to the report.

Three of the campuses studied also provided inadequate education to incoming students about how to file administrative complaints and criminal charges. And while the auditor noted that many university and college employees charged with handling complaints about sexual assault and rape were adequately informed about proper procedures, some “front line” employees likely to first hear about such incidents, such as resident advisers, were not. Making sure these ground-level personnel know how to report incidents and direct victims to the proper authorities and offices is crucial, says Abigail Boyer, assistant executive director of programs for the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a non-profit advocacy group.

“A lot of times the first person someone will go to or disclose to may not be someone in campus police or security, but may be someone they already trust,” says Boyer. “No matter where a report or disclosure comes in, you want that person to be prepared to respond and know what resources are available in the community.”

Meanwhile, a bill now in the California state legislature is intended to help clarify when illegal sexual contact takes place. It would require universities and colleges in the state to adopt policies requiring that those engaged in sexual activity do so only with the “affirmative consent” of all parties involved. This new standard is meant to ensure sexual contact, including that which takes place under the influence of drugs and alcohol, includes clear and often verbal communication about what’s happening as it happens. According to the legislation, which has already been passed by the state Senate:

“Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity … Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”

TIME Sexual Assault

Why Victims of Rape in College Don’t Report to the Police

Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.
Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014. Alex Garland—Demotix/Corbis

Senator Claire McCaskill hosts a round table to address how and when law enforcement should be brought into campus sexual assault cases

The frustration in the room was palpable on Capitol Hill on Monday afternoon where a group sexual assault victim advocates and law enforcement experts in sex crimes met to talk about how the police and college administrators could better together to handle campus sexual assault.

The group had assembled for a roundtable hosted by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), one of a team of three senators working to draft legislation that would address growing concerns about campus safety. As TIME wrote in a recent cover story, criticism of how college campuses have dealt with sexual assault has risen this year with accusations that officials have been sweeping the problem under the rug. But the tension over universities’ mishandling of these issues begs the question of why college administrators are expected to deal with these cases in the first place. A passive observer might wonder, shouldn’t these serious crimes be dealt with by the police? The answer, it turns out, is that administrators and police will have to work together to address the problem.

Yet the difficulty of building more effective partnerships became clear as the conversation unfolded at the round table today. Victim advocates articulated fears about anything that would make the relationship between law enforcement and the schools overly formal. For the advocates, doing right by the victim often means respecting her or his wishes not to report the crime to the police and even telling the victim about the possible downsides of the criminal justice system– which can lead to a months-long process that might threaten a victim’s confidentiality. In response, law enforcement officers explained how difficult it can be to pursue criminal action when they don’t collect evidence from the victim early in the process, making it difficult for them to get repeat offenders off the streets.

The question of when and how to involve the police in campus sexual assault is a salient one for administrators and politicians as they work together to overhaul the system of reporting and preventing these incidents. Alexandra Brodsky, a student at Yale law school and an organizer at Know Your IX, a grassroots organization that educates sexual assault survivors about their civil rights in the college setting, illustrated the tension beautifully during the discussion when she said: “When I reported violence to my school, I was told not to go to police. But I never would have told [the school] if I knew I was going to be forced into that option.”

If colleges are going to do a better job of handling sexual assault, college administrators are going to have to work together with police chiefs. But that collaboration is difficult, particularly because victims (especially those in college), are reluctant to report their assaults to the police.

In a 2007 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice that surveyed 5,446 undergraduate women and 1,375 undergraduate men at two large public universities in the South and the Midwest, just 2% of sexual assault victims incapacitated by drugs or alcohol and just 13% of “physically forced” victims reported the crimes to law enforcement (that’s why increased reporting at colleges is, counter-intuitively, a good sign).

So, why don’t victims go to the police? Every victim is different, but there are a few common themes that ran through the testimony at the hearing and through conversations with experts in the field.

1. They don’t want anyone to know. In the round table, confidentiality was the most often sighted goal of both victim’s advocates and police officers and prosecutors who work most closely with victims. Survey data backs them up. Contrary to Washington Post columnist George Will’s bizarre theory that reporting sexual assault could confer a “coveted status” for victims, research shows that college victims don’t report sexual assault to the police because they don’t want anyone to know. In the 2007 study, 42% of the “physically forced” victims who did not report the incident to the police said it was because they “did not want anyone to know.” Nearly half of the victims gave the same answer in an earlier survey (also funded by the National Institute of Justice) that randomly surveyed 4, 446 women attending two or four year colleges during 1997.

Victims, especially those in college, know that reporting rape comes with a social risk, especially when the perpetrator is someone they know. At a small or midsize college, the rapist is likely to be part of the victim’s social circle. “I’ve seen this in every single case. The victim lose friends or becomes a social pariah. If you report on a really small campus, its really difficult to re-integrate after you report,” says Bruno.

Interestingly, even as the attitude towards victims has improved over the last several years in the broader culture and by police, self-blame and shame has persisted among victims, leaving them just as unwilling to come forward. Years ago, says Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the most common reason victims gave for not reporting was: “‘I think I won’t be believed. I think I will be blamed.’ We hear that less often. Now it is much more common to hear: ‘I want to keep this private. I don’t want people to know. I’m embarrassed.'”

2. They don’t understand what constitutes rape. The 2007 survey showed that just over 35% of victims said that they didn’t report to law enforcement because it was “unclear that it was a crime or that harm was intended” (44% gave that same answer in the earlier 1990’s study).

The victims’ confusion does not mean that all of these crimes fell somewhere in the gray. More likely, their confusion reflects shame, denial, and internalized misconceptions that rape is always perpetrated by a stranger and involves physical violence, when often, rape happens between acquaintances and involves alcohol, threats, or other kinds of coercion.”Victims don’t often identify it as a crime because they know the person, they trusted the person, sense of denial or disbelief that it happened,”says Colby Bruno, Senior Legal Counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, who represents victims of sexual violence in civil matters, with particular expertise in representing college students.

3. They are afraid the police won’t believe them. In the more recent 2007 study, 21% of physically forced victims and 12% of incapacitated victims did not report because they didn’t think the police would take the crime seriously and 13% of forced victims and 24% of incapacitated victims feared the police would treat them poorly. Victims have also reported that their colleges discouraged them from reporting.

Victims aren’t wrong in their perception. According to research funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, only 18% of reported rapes result in a conviction.

4. They don’t know how much control they will have after they report to the police. Victims are afraid of going through a public rape trial because of how awful it can be for the victim. Media portrayals of rape trials show how often they are about the victim’s character and credibility. Given the low rate of conviction, victim’s naturally decide it isn’t worth the risk. Unfortunately, there is wide discrepancy between how prosecutors and police officers in various jurisdictions handle sex crimes. Some will give broad power and control to the victim, while others may pursue the case against the victim’s wishes. Predicting those outcomes are difficult for victims and the advocates who advise them (a theme reflected in today’s round table). According to Carrie Hull, a detective with the Ashland Police Department in Ashland Oregon who attended the round table, said reporting was up 106% from 2010 to 2013 after the implemented a program called “You Have Options,” designed to decrease barriers in reporting, which gives women three options when reporting to police – to give information only, to trigger a partial investigation, or to trigger a complete investigation that will be referred to the prosecutor.

Bruno says that prosecutors are more likely than they were a few years ago to follow the victim’s wishes to drop a case. Still, it is impossible to predict the outcome, and victims are rightly scared by what they know of the system.

As I’ve reported before, rapists are very often repeat offenders. The best way to ensure that more victims report is to continue to create flexibility in the system for victims and change the wider culture so that victims will feel supported. Being the victim of rape will never reach George Will’s imagined “coveted status,” but at the very least, we have to work together to ensure it’s not a shameful one.

Read more on how campuses should handle sexual assault.

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