Sexual Assault Connection
Anyone can be impacted by sexual violence. Rainn states that every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. One in 6 American women and 1 in 33 American men have been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. The culture around sexual violence is shifting from blaming the victim to believing the victim. Because of the current culture surrounding sexual violence, survivors may face additional challenges in accessing resources, reporting to law enforcement, and generally throughout the legal process. Marsy's Law will help:
Right to fairness and dignity: With victim blaming being so common, with questions designed to shift the focus away from the accused, to the perceived shortcomings of the survivor. Questions like what you were wearing, how much did you have to drink are used as a way to justify the defendant’s actions. This can not only impact a survivors healing, but also whether they want to continue through the criminal justice process.
Right to privacy: Sexual violence survivors may feel less able to disclose of violence or assault they’ve experienced out of fear that they may experience a fishing expedition. A fishing expedition is a search or investigation with the hope, though not the stated purpose, of discovering information. For example, using past consensual sexual experiences as a way to diminish the assault.
Right to be heard: The ability to voice the traumas of sexual violence to a sentencing court can have a profound impact on the survivors’ ability to seek justice.
Right to restitution: Sexual violence isn’t a singular act; it can have serious short and long-term effects on the survivor. Rainn states that approximately 70% of rape and sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime. Not only does sexual violence affect a survivor’s mental health, but it can also negatively impact their physical health. These additional health burdens can result in financial burdens. Thus, restitution is imperative for assisting survivors in their healing.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673