Ashley Pierce is a political science freshman and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.
My favorite animal of all time is sea otters. They are adorable, fat, furry ocean-dwelling teddy bears (the best kind). If I had a patronus it would be a sea otter. They are my so-called “spirit animal,” which is why it was devastating to find out that sea otters have this funny little knack of raping baby seals when no females can be found.
This made me wonder what humans would look like from a more intelligent being’s perspective. I don’t think we’d be anyone’s favorite animals either, with the amount of heinous crimes we commit against one another, sexual assault included. But we, being of higher brain capacity and a species of morals and justice, rightly view murder and rape as a crime and prosecute those that commit such an act. Or at least we’re supposed to.
Only 3 percent of rapists actually serve any time in jail according to a report by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. While a large proportion of rapists get away with their crime because victims choose not to report it; of the 46 percent reported, only approximately 7 percent of rapists are convicted, according to report.
This past March, news anchors were found to be more sympathetic to the rapists than the victims. As two boys were given their sentence of at least one year in juvenile jail for raping a teenage girl, CNN correspondent Poppy Harlow described how it was “incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart.”
No one should care that these men’s lives and dreams are ruined. They ruined and have caused severe psychological and physical pain to a 16-year-old girl. They took something sacred and acted in grotesque selfishness. So no, their lives and their ruined dreams stopped mattering the moment they decided to hurt the young girl.
The fact that they themselves are still in high school should elicit no sympathy. If they’re old enough to have sex, they’re old enough to know that it is not an act to be forced upon another human being, not an act to be taken advantage of when one is incapacitated. The two of them should get worse than just juvenile jail, and very well could by a grand jury’s decision.
Another incident took over the news when, Audrie Pott, 15, took her life after being attacked by three 16-year-old boys. The boys were recently released from juvenile jail and simply put on house arrest despite their actions and her resulting suicide.
Rape doesn’t seem to be taken as seriously as it should by the American justice system. There is no federal law regarding rape (which is fine, the federal government doesn’t need any more power) so it’s left up to each state to handle.
For California, the penalties for rape convictions are three to eight years and seven to 13 if the victim is a minor. While the punishments seem long-term, not enough rapists are actually convicted. It continues to happen all too often.
While rapists need to be properly punished, convicted and not victimized, women must be careful as well. Rape is in no way the victim’s fault, but people must be smart and responsible for themselves as well. Ladies, and men as well, going to a party and getting completely wasted makes one more vulnerable to attack. Drink carefully, keep aware and don’t walk home alone by yourself.
I’ve walked back to my dorm from downtown at night. It’s creepy, not well lit and completely horrifying.
Unfortunately the world will never be free of evil crimes. Rapes will always occur. But instead of states cracking down on drugs and other misdemeanors, more should be done to prevent rape and to keep rapists off the streets. All genders should stay aware of their surroundings and, if the unthinkable happens, report it.
While rape crimes have fallen 60 percent since 1993, there were still 143,300 female rape victims in 2010 and 89,300 rape crimes attempted. And it’s not only females who are attacked: 17,400 males were victims of rape or attempted rape that year, as well.
I find rape to be one of the most despicable crimes committed by human kind. Murder, of course being the worst, can still be considered in the right if done in self-defense or for survival. Rape has no defense. At no point in anyone’s life is rape the answer to protecting oneself or for defense.
If the punishment for rape was greater, perhaps rapists would think twice about their actions. When more than half of all rapes aren’t even reported, rapists don’t have too much to fear. The sentence for rapists in prison should be far longer than three to six years. This is an act that is premeditated; it doesn’t matter if the rapist was drunk, on drugs, etc. They’re still responsible for their actions. They still had the audacity to act on such an evil and twisted thought, taking something from another human being that is not theirs to take.