Rape is Still Worth It, For Rapists.
I have written about this topic, am writing about it again, and will likely write about it in the future: rape is the most under criminalized crime of them all. In other words, rape is still totally worth it for rapists. The odds of being punished are minute.
Harvey Weinstein was convicted the last week of February 2020. That was shocking. I did not expect a conviction. Also, the victims had very complicated stories, including continued consensual relations with Weinstein after the sexual assaults. The fact that the prosecutor was able to obtain a conviction with those facts is revolutionary - truly. It felt like a moment to celebrate. But I didn't. Why? The truth is that Weinstein was not convicted because he committed sexual assaults. Weinstein was tried and convicted because he allegedly committed so many sexual assaults that he eventually got caught. But doesn't that also tell us that rape is worth it? That victimizing women is worth it for perpetrators?
What are the chances of getting caught after one time? Close to null. What are the chances of getting caught after ten times? Sixty times? One hundred and fifty times? Not that big. And even if someone does get caught, they would have to get charged. And even if charged, and found guilty, jail time is still not guaranteed. There are prison sentences associated with rape on the books but they don't get imposed. There is always an "exception," a reason to save the perpetrator, there is always an excuse to let them off lightly.
Look, I've witnessed it as an attorney handling sexual assault crimes. Police officers turn away victims and the case doesn't even get logged as a sex assault. Rape kits go untested despite the fact that Colorado is a so-called "universal testing" state. We don't even have a way to track rape kits in order to get a real handle on what percentage of rape kits actually go in for testing. As we fall over ourselves, tripping up over simple concepts and a chronic refusal to hold law enforcement accountable, rapists get away. Why is this not a big issue?
Well, I go back to my tired refrain: misogyny is a male-bonding activity. Violence to women is not viewed as horrific; indeed, it is viewed as a normal part of society. Until that changes, nothing will. Rape will continue to be worth it for rapists.
In 2019, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reviewed over one thousand cases in Minnesota and found: 1) in almost 1/4 of cases, police never assigned an investigator; 2) in 1/2 of cases, the investigator never interviewed the victim; 3) in 1/2 of the cases, police failed to interview potential witnesses; 4) in most of the cases, about 75%, including violent rapes by strangers, the case was never forwarded to prosecutors for criminal charges; and 5) fewer than 10% of reported sexual assaults produced a conviction. Rape is still worth it.
I could list all the examples of men getting away with rape but others have done a better job. The common conclusion, through, both anecdotally and as backed up by large-scale data is that rapists will very rarely get caught and even if they do, the risk of punishment is negligible.
So, yeah, as we head into March--which bears International Women's Day--I approach this day as I always do. With a heavy dose of realism and none of the euphoria of glorifying women as "so important" and "so revered" I will say this: stop paying lip service to women on International Women's Day and ignoring our woes the rest of the year. As long as rape is worth it for rapists, we're living in a man's world. And I'm keeping my fighting gloves on.