Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stop Asking Why Rape Victims Don't Report


I just can't believe people are still asking why rape victims don't go to the police. I got yet another comment on the Jared Leto thing, because apparently there's no limit to the number of people living in his butt. This gem asked why these underage girls who clearly didn't understand that what they'd experienced was rape go to the police rather than "gossiping" on a message board.

Gee, I dunno, maybe it's because the anonymity of a random message board is the only place it might be possible to discuss such a thing, especially when it involves a popular celebrity, without being attacked and smeared and harassed and getting rape and death threats? Maybe?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that even when the evidence against the offender is damning, especially when it comes to celebrities, our rape culture makes legal battles around rape absolute hell for victims to the point that most people can't handle it.

Case in point, Dylan Farrow.

This column is by Ronan, Dylan's brother, about how the news media supports celebrity rapists because god forbid they harm their relationships with important rich people. This, by the way, is a real issue of ethics in journalism.

The open CC list on those emails revealed reporters at every major outlet with whom that publicist shared relationships — and mutual benefit, given her firm's starry client list, from Will Smith to Meryl Streep. Reporters on the receiving end of this kind of PR blitz have to wonder if deviating from the talking points might jeopardize their access to all the other A-list clients.  
In fact, when my sister first decided to speak out, she had gone to multiple newspapers — most wouldn't touch her story. An editor at the Los Angeles Times sought to publish her letter with an accompanying, deeply fact-checked timeline of events, but his bosses killed it before it ran. The editor called me, distraught, since I'd written for them in the past. There were too many relationships at stake. It was too hot for them. He fought hard for it. (Reached by The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Times said the decision not to publish was made by the Opinion editors.) 
When The New York Times ultimately ran my sister's story in 2014, it gave her 936 words online, embedded in an article with careful caveats. Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, put it on his blog. 
Soon afterward, the Times gave her alleged attacker twice the space — and prime position in the print edition, with no caveats or surrounding context. It was a stark reminder of how differently our press treats vulnerable accusers and powerful men who stand accused.

You tell me why underage girls wouldn't go to the police if raped by a celebrity. Would you want to be put through the kind of shit Dylan has gone through? No? Then shut the fuck up.

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