24 seconds and only 3% of perpetrators ever face jail time, one state is finally fighting back. Virginia is hoping to aid rape victims by proposing a measure requiring that they provide video proof of the incident. The details of House Bill 7425 are as follows:
HB 7425: In order to facilitate prosecution, victims of a sexual assault are required to provide video evidence within 48-hours of the alleged attack. Prosecutors shall use this footage to determine:
1. If the act was consensual.
2. If the victim fought back in a reasonable and effective manner.
3. Whether the victim clearly informed the alleged attacker that the sexual act was not consensual.
4. Whether the victims’ clothing was excessively provocative.
5. Whether the alleged attacker reasonably believed the victim desired the encounter through the victims’ overly flirtatious manner or the amount of money spent on the victim over the course of the day.
6. Absent video evidence, it is assumed that the interaction was consensual.
This is not the first time Virginia Republicans have drawn criticism for their role in legislating women’s issues. In 2012, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed HB 462 forcing women to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. Many opponents viewed this as a form of “state sponsored rape”. In addition House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was vocal in his opposition to The Violence Against Women Act. Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, called Cantor's stance "completely outrageous" as it related to protecting Native American rape victims. "Who is Eric Cantor to say that it's okay for some women to get beaten and raped?"
When asked about the new bill McDonnell seemed optimistic that HB 7425 would help correct the misconception that conservatives do not care about victims of sexual assault:
“This bill protects the victim by ensuring that they’re not put through an embarrassing trial only to lose. Obviously there is a greater likelihood of justice being served with video evidence than without. Also, far too often, men’s lives are ruined by fraudulent rape accusations. This will weed out real victims from those who actually wanted to have intercourse. Plus, since everyone has a smart phone it doesn’t make any sense to me why these alleged real victims are not recording their attacks.”
Women all across the USA should feel a little safer knowing that Gov. McDonnell, Rep. Cantor and the state of Virginia are looking out for them. According to an intensive U.S. survey, an estimated 1 in 5 women have been victims of rape. It is further estimated that as many as 1.3 million American women are victims of rape each year. It is heartening to see members of the GOP finally taking this issue seriously.
This satiric article is dedicated to the victims of sexual violence all over the world. NOBODY asks to be raped. It is a violent and horrific attack perpetrated by the sickest and most depraved human beings. Yesterday I read the story of Rehtaeh Parsons from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was only 15 years old when she was gang raped by four boys. None of the rapists were prosecuted. Instead, they bragged by disseminating a picture of the attack. For the next 17-months Rehtaeh was propositioned, ridiculed and tormented by members of her own community. After more than a year and a half of psychological torture, Rehtaeh Parsons died following a suicide attempt on April 7. We must stand together to protect rape victims and force our governments to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Victims of Sexual Assault are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault please contact someone who can help. RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) 1-800-656-HOPE. There are many people who care about you. You are not alone.
Photograph by: Lau_Lau Chan