Today dating violence and rape have become a prominent topic amongst teens and young adults. As young adults we are often faced by the harsh reality of how people can often be taken advantage of or abused with in a relationship that they have placed a certain level of trust in. Thankfully today, unlike times before, there is more verbalization and education about the topic. Laws have been put in place to protect those who feel that they have been abused or mistreated, and this has helped to make it easier for a person to come forward about what has happened to him or her. But still, even today, society unconsciously places blame, and unfortunately it is often on the victim. So who is really to blame for these acts? Is it just women who are raped, or do men feel as if there are times they have been taken advantage of as well?
A common view of rape victims, that is still true in today’s society, is that they have done something to deserve the crime that has been committed on them. Society’s view of victims of rape most often has an accusatory undertone to it. People look at the victim as if they did something to deserve the rape, that they must have provoked the other person to receive such treatment. Due to the fact that rape is solely based on the word of a person, people become skeptical and cynical when dealing with a rape case.
When a man rapes a woman, and the woman is drunk, it is still considered rape. I feel that a prominent misunderstanding that has been circulating through out my generation is that it is not considered rape. One of the disheartening facts of today remains to be that most of the rapes in America happen while one or both parties is intoxicated from drinking alcohol.
“Research indicates that alcohol consumption is associated with engaging in sexually aggressive behavior” (Gross, Bennett, Sloan, Marx & Juergens, 2001), this statement displays only one of the reasons that dating violence occurs, the other I feel can not be blamed on the use of a substance, the other is a person’s natural ability to decipher a right action from a wrong one. I don’t feel that placing all of the blame on being intoxicated completely rectifies a person’s action when they have violated someone in such a way. It simply comes down to right and wrong, whether a person makes morally good responsible decisions, or whether they are the type of person who is willing to take advantage of another for their own personal gain and pleasure.
One of the encouraging facts that is true today is that there is more protection available for a victim of rape. Compared to the early 1970’s a woman has a drastically different course of action to take when considering what to do after a rape. There were numerous things wrong with the laws protecting women in those times, they even varied by state, having no concordant stance that could be applied throughout the entire country, making it almost impossible to say exactly what rape was. The laws protecting women against rape in the 1970’s had many loopholes in them. Women did not usually even report a rape crime due to the fact that they felt society would not truly support their claims. They felt as if society would only place criticism upon them and point fingers at them. The article Rape* states: “Ã¢Â?Â¦a woman who has been raped in her home by a former male friend need not press charges because NO COURT will believe she didn’t consent” which shows how the loopholes in the rape laws would allow certain circumstances where rape was not an accusable crime.
Another act, which sometimes goes hand in hand with actions such as rape, is physical violence with in a relationship. Many people who are in a physically abusive relationship may not even be aware that they are in one. “Both males and females are abusers and abused, but females suffer more serious formsÃ¢Â?Â¦” (DeGenove & Rice, 2002). This is often true with in the relationships that I have witnessed physical violence. Often if a female is being abused seriously she will try to defend herself by slapping the man, throwing something at him, or by scratching at him with her nails. This however, only rings true to those who are fully aware that they are in a seriously violent relationship situation.
I am also aware that there are many women who do not realize that they are in a dangerous relationship. I myself was in a relationship where my ex-boyfriend would often forcefully grab my arm or smack me, leaving bruises. I used to brush it off as being overprotective behavior; because I knew that he was not the “violent type.” This is where many women get themselves in to trouble, because I was convincing myself that this guy was good at heart, but was just a little rough around the edges. I thought I could help him, and became pulled in to a situation where I was taking care of him and if I did not please him then I would be punished by him. It was not until he actually straight out punched me that I knew that I was in a bad situation. The slaps and grabbing did not cross my mind as abusive, but when he punched me my eyes opened for the first time in the year and a half we had been together. I had a welt the size of a softball on my leg, and it hurt to walk, I had to tell someone. I went to residence life and talked to Mike Dolan, and I got myself out of the situation. But I can clearly see and understand how many people may not recognize that they are in any kind of danger with their partner.
Dating violence sometimes can be a subtle act, or in other situations can be very violent and invasive. But one thing remains true throughout all cases of dating violence, that even the smallest amount is too much. I think that much of the problem with our dating skills today is that we do not know how to recognize the signs of a violent person, so we do not know how to protect ourselves from them. I think that there should be better education on the topic in schools, and also I feel that parents should inform their children, starting at an early age, about dating violence and what they can do to identify and stop it. I know that in my situation I did not know how to recognize the violent tendencies and behaviors, so by the time I spoke out it had already escalated to the point where I was punched. If I had been educated better on what constitutes as “abusive” then maybe I would have been able to stop it long before it got to such a painful point.