Opinion: Time to redefine the identity of rape victims

Protesters in DelhiImage source: Reuters

Protesters in Delhi
Image courtesy: Reuters


Yunjie Zou

The victims of rape have long been overshadowed by those more powerful figures.     Actions must be taken.

While the issue of gang rape in Delhi, India evokes tremendous international rage from the people and the strong urge to improve women’s safety, UK is undergoing a storm. It is trapped in its own BBC sexual scandals with more and more alleged sex abused standing out to accuse Jimmy Savile, the former BBC DJ and presenter. There are more than 90 people pursuing legal action in the wake of allegations of abuse on 13th, Feb 2012. The scale of this scandal keeps upgrading with more and more people and institutions involved.

However, what this exploding news presents is that legislative system has not succeeded in preventing the sexual abuse crimes effectively and the indulgence of letting people with power and fame to oppress the weak. More importantly, the sad fact that the victims have to show up as a group anonymously, which is the number shocked the world instead of the single abusive issue. What about the pain that every single individuals suffers?

Recently in Taiwan, there is a similar case which also gave the society a bombard: A man called Li, raped more than 60 famous models and singers by using drugs and even filmed the process. Those videos were leaked to the public which had caused the second trauma to those victims. In the same pattern, it is again the social elite overpowers the weak and sexually oppressed them. With the bloody taste for scandals, the society focused on the figure of 60 victims and large amount of the videos.

According to the British Crime Survey, around 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and 80,000 women are raped each year. The police got 15,670 reported cases of sexual abused each year, however, only one-forth of the cases were taken into the court. On the other hand, the protection to the victims is far from enough, and it sometimes comes along with discriminations.

Jimmy Savile was charged of committing sexual abused several times in 2007 and 2008, but all the charges were dropped due to the lack of the evidence. Individuals’ cases fail to grab the public’s concern until the scandal was revealed in October 2012. People don’t really pay attention to a single rape case anymore. A news reporting that a 23-year-old man, David Edgerton, committed another abduction would not keep the society’s attention for too long.

Victims who are less powerful have to present themselves to the public as a group in order to avoid showing their single pain and identity. Contrarily, it is this omission that makes the society neglect the necessary protection and prevention of sexual crimes. Therefore, the redefinition of the victims’ identity is crucial. By creating a more friendly environment instead of chasing scandals, let the victims voice their pain.


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