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Alex Bass
Rachel Efstathion
ENC 2135
Project 2
Victims of crime face long lasting damage, more specifically victims of sexual assault. I
am interested in this topic because I need to know why the victim is just recently becoming
significant. In my eyes, the victim is the most important in any case, regardless of the severity of
the crime. Majority of victims of crime feel as if they cannot confide in the criminal justice
system and are ignored and belittled. One should not have to get the top ranked prosecutor in
their state to receive the attention needed for justice due to a criminal act. That needs to change.
Feeling safe is an important quality of life. According to Linda Fairstein and Haley Clark, the
criminal justice system discriminates against victims of rape. Clark states victims lack
communication with the system, therefore it is unethical. Rape is one of the most under-reported
crimes. The argument for rape coming mainly from men, is how women present themselves,
(even though there should be no argument at all). Men argue that women should restrict certain
behaviors, and avoid wearing risqu clothing. They basically blame the victims themselves for
why they were sexually assaulted. All rape victims deserve justice, and this needs to be
addressed in order for rape crimes to decrease, and compensation does not fix it. Florida State
University has over 400 emergency blue light telephones on campus due to crimes such as rape;
this is one way for women especially, to feel somewhat protected and it lowers the potential of

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serious crime. College campuses and the world in general need to be more educated about these
matters; offering classes on how to avoid rape, what to do if it does occur, who to contact, and to
provide information and possibly a safe place can decrease the risk of becoming a victim.
Millions of women are raped every year, which creates the endless fear of being sexually
assaulted in their lifetime. Consequently, women have begun to cover their drinks when they are
out, avoid walking alone at night, and even stay in due to feeling unsafe. Supporting rape
survivors can lead them to speak out to inform the world on how serious it really is. Rapists must
serve their time, but if women continue to avoid the authorities, they will continue to rape.
Research does not address complete re-victimization and how that is one of the biggest fears in
why victims do not report the incident. They lose more than just their dignity but ongoing
amounts of money come along with it. The criminal justice system needs speak out to rape
victims in a more welcoming way. I encourage victims of rape to reach out, create support
groups that build relationships with whom understand each others struggle, and most
importantly know their rights. When victims can openly speak to one another about facing
assault, the issue within the criminal justice system can properly and more confidently be
addressed if their rights of privacy are understood. I argue that victims DO need to be notified of
their rights and compensated for the incident. This research addresses how the system deals with
victims and how the system needs to be upgraded.
Literature Review
In this article written by Haley Clark, she focuses on the criminal justice system not
receiving justice for rape victims. The main point of concern, is once again, maltreatment of
victims from the system. This relates overall, to each source previously stated, being a
reoccurring issue. Clark says victims lack information and communication with the system, and

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those who do approach it as being unethical (29). It is essential for every rape victim to be
believed by the system; then the power is in their hands. It is shocking to me that a crime as
detrimental as rape can be undermined.
This article produced by David Bryden and Sonja Lengnick was the most helpful in
regards to my topic because my focus is how the system treats the victims (1195). One of the
main ideas of this article is discrimination specifically targeted at sexual assault victims. The
research Clark conducted involved real victims and their experiences with the system,
considering it could not get any more accurate than using the victims themselves, this
information showed the victims standpoint (30). Clark created a table that properly addresses the
justice needs versus the system experiences. Key terms in this table were information, validation,
voice, control, and outcomes which each victim takes into account (36).
My most surprising find when organizing research on this topic, was Linda Fairsteins article
stating that rape crimes were generally viewed as victim precipitated and occurred because the
victim allowed it to (1138). Rape is one of the most controversial crimes, which saddens me;
sexual assault has the deepest effect on people and should not be questioned. The way the system
addresses the victims led me to the findings of impacts of rape on victims. Rape has a domino
effect, first dealing with the justice system if chosen to, and then most likely being degraded
which makes emotional trauma worsen further. It seems as if everyone knows about these
horrifying issues, yet do absolutely nothing about them. I have read countless articles about
sexual assault victims, the impact it has, and how they go about addressing the system but the
problem seems to continue. Carol Tracy from the Womens Law Project and Professor Michelle
Dempsey from Villanova Law School discuss the outdated definition of rape and confusion

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within it (website). This resulted in added definitions in order to clear things up. Much more
needs to be done for sexual assault victims to be treated with dignity and respect.
I chose to speak with Alec Mathews who was apart of Victims Advocacy at University of
South Florida. Alec has every aspect of expertise that my topic focuses on and they were
presented in his interview answers. Victims Advocacy deals with all crimes but sexual violence
was number one, which is where my focus lies. I wanted to know how other people feel towards
this topic through me (my questions). This interview allowed me to realize how many resources
there are that support these victims even though the crime of rape is not made a priority in the
system. I asked Alec Working in victims advocacy, what type of crimes were reported most?
He responded with sexual violence is most reported, then domestic violence and stalking. This
statement shocked me because sexual assault victims avoid reporting the incidences because of
the system. Rape crimes are normally categorized as the least reported, especially on college
campuses because it is so common victims feel as if their problem has no relevance. Alec
surprisingly informed me that most students report their incident on their own or through the
assistance of a friend bringing them to the advocacy office. In agreement to his beliefs on this
seemingly never ending problem, universities should focus on ending sexual violence by
teaching rapists not to rape rather than teaching to students on how to avoid getting raped. His
views and experience support my research because not only on college campuses, but in general,
the world needs to be further informed on this matter. Fortunately, Victims Advocacy at USF has
many services for providing help such as, emotional support, Victim Helpline, Safety Planning,
Crisis Intervention, and Prevention and Education Presentations. Victims face emotional trauma
and lack a sense of safety so these resources are extremely significant. Because a focus on my

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topic regards the rights of sexual assault victims I was curious to know if his institution informs
victims of their rights of privacy. The center he works at provides a small brochure that outlines
the rights of students and the rights of survivors, and is given to every student that comes into the
center regardless of the type of crime. This opened a door for ideas, I believe every university
should give students some type guidance on their rights to aid them on their choice of reporting it
or not. All of Alecs many responses to my questions further educated me on rape victims
coming from a more hands-on viewpoint. Rape victims should seek help and speak out any
chance they can, and most importantly, know their rights.
The Contextualization
The research I have conducted on this topic so far has proven that sexual assault
victims currently still face the issue of being mistreated by the system. Rape is more commonly
under-reported due to the system itself simply by the way they view sexual assault, or Sexual
Battery (how Florida addresses it), so the only people who can fix it are the ones apart of it.
Victims safety and well being are most important, and in order to ensure that, the criminal
justice system needs to appoint victims appropriately. The only way for victims to being
reporting incidents is to become approachable and willing to help. Because the system is known
for causing the loss of more money, they are avoided. Educating the people to report incidents, or
even help victims in need can create more support for these victims if they do choose to address
the system and allow for a sense of safety and security.
Works Cited
Bryden, David P., and Sonja Lengnick. "Rape In The Criminal Justice System." Journal Of

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Criminal Law & Criminology 87.4 (1997): 1194. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16
Feb. 2016.
Clark, Haley. "What Is The Justice System Willing To Offer?" Understanding Sexual Assault
Victim/Survivors' Criminal Justice Needs." Family Matters 85 (2010): 28-37. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2016
Doerner, William G., and Steven P. Lab. Victimology. 6th ed. Boston: Elsevier/AP, 2012. Web.
Dube, Dipa. "Reparative Justice For Rape Victims In India." VIDHIGYA: The Journal Of Legal
Awareness 5.1/2 (2010): 82-89. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
Fairstein, Linda. "Panel Discussion ." Fordham Law Review 61.5 (1992-1993): 1137-1140.
Fialkow, David E. "Media's First Amendment Rights and the Rape Victim's Right to Privacy:
Where Does One Right End and the Other Begin." Suffolk University Law Review 39.3
(2005-2006): 745-772.
Mathews, Alec. Personal Interview. 22 February 2016.

Spohn, Cassia. "Connections News, Opinion, Analysis, Photos and Video Mic." Mic. Policy.Mic,
n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.
"Victims Rights and Legal Support." Rape Victim Advocates. N.p., 28 May 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.