I was reading KLo’s post ‘Why is There an Inherent Disbelief of Rape Victims?’ and it reminded me of something my husband told me a little while ago.
Many years ago, before we were married, he was at a party in the 60s and talking to an attractive young woman who was training to be a doctor. After a while she asked if he could give her some advice. What she told him shocked and astounded him.
She had been having a dental procedure when the dentist began making sexual advances to her which she had not invited and did not welcome. She reported the assault to the police whose response was, ‘We won’t do anything until we’ve received further complaints.’
The young woman was extremely distressed and asked Barry what she should do. He advised her to go back to the police and complain vociferously. Naturally, she was reluctant to do so and so he offered to go with her and voice her grievances but she backed off, not wanting to face the unsympathetic police again. Maybe talking to a young man who believed her story helped her to overcome her confusion and regain some confidence.
If such a stance had been applied by police to every criminal act, there would have been multiple robberies of houses, repeated muggings, several shoplifting offences, maybe even manifold murders before they would believe there was just cause to bring perpetrators to book.
Attitudes to sexual crimes have changed and continue to change, but far too slowly. There is too much acceptance that ‘professional people’ and people from ‘impeccable’ backgrounds are incapable of immorality and too much condemnation of young women’s dress, behaviour and attitudes added to a sense that victims ‘have asked for it.’ Those who speak out are brave to do so.