Inequality between men and women is the unfair treatment of people because of their gender. He applies to the belief that men and women are not equal and that thus in society they should not have equal rights. Differences in the position of the sex and the differences result from empirical or socially based discrepancies. There is a global disparity in gender inequality rates and causes. Obvious crime against women involves abuse, assassination and rape (Robinson). Gender inequality is also a key barrier to growth from a financial perspective as it deters nations from achieving their highest production capacity. Abuse however has been one of the world most heinous vices, and unlike before where a majority of the rape cases entailed women being the only victims, in the contemporary world, men too fall as victims of this felony.
Unfairness of the Law System to Rape Victims
The Brock Turner Case
January 2015, was a year that remains in the minds of not only the majority of Americans but also other nationalities. A student of Stanford University by the name Brock Turner sexually abused a young female and left her insentient behind a dumpster. He was detained for only six months in prison regardless of case prosecutors sanctioning he goes for six years. The case raised a lot of criticism for being somewhat lenient, and the judge who sentenced him received much outrage for failing to treat the case with the weightiness it deserved.
The humiliation surrounding sexual attack is draining. There is a culture of pointing the finger at victims and disgracing them, which makes it challenging for them to open up or report such cases. This culture denotes that women are accountable for men raping them; either they had worn ‘badly’ to provoke them, or they were too drunk thus excusing the action. Apparently, not only men victim blame. Leslie Rasmussen, a friend to Brock Turner, wrote a letter to his judge blaming his victim for getting overdrunk and insisted all that was a big mistake. Several high profile cases for the past year alone show how the U.S legal system continues to fail sexual assault victims. From Brock Turner’s incidence to that of Bill Cosby, whose trial ended with a hung jury, the legal system has laid bare its inadequacies when it comes to protecting survivors of sexual abuse (Pryal).
Shortcomings of the legal systems include; DAs failing to take rape cases to hearing, judges being tolerant in penalizing convicted rapists and laws imposing harsh statutes of restrictions for reporting rape. The changing decrees of limitations for the length of time after sexual assault survivors have to report the crime and prosecutors have to file charges, ranges from some years to decades. Imposing this restraint statute is unfair according to experts, since survivors often do not report assault cases immediately after they happen, and some can take many years. Some states are working on ending such limitation statutes, an example being California, which gave a new law concerning that in 2016. Another flaw is the failure of assault cases reaching court for trial. According to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network), merely thirteen out of a thousand instances of sexual abuse get referred to a prosecutor. Seven out of those one thousand get a felony conviction (Friedmann). Rape cases are more often hard to take legal action on, due to the ‘reserved’ nature of the wrongdoing, for example, lack of witnesses as well as juries’ preconceived ideas of what encompasses rape. More often than not, offenders of rape cases are given light verdicts, for example, Turner. Another culprit who was given a short sentence after assaulting a semi-conscious woman in 2016 was a student, Austin James Wilkerson from Colorado University. He only received a two-year work release where he could go to school and back to jail at night.
In a majority of these cases, the U.S legal system and the judiciary specifically, tend to place more significance on the welfare and future of the guilty parties contrast to those of the survivors. These victims endure a lifetime of physical and mental consequences. An advocate Lone Wells wrote an article in the Independent, saying the most recurring trend is that the safety of the culprit is put over that of the victim and it is incredibly damaging for the victim and anyone who has experienced such. Society seemingly put wrongdoers on an equal level with sufferers, and this sends a note to victims that their case would not be heard compassionately.
HOW EASILY WOMEN’S REPUTATION IS RUINED COMPARED TO MEN WHEN IT COMES TO RAPE CASES
Comparison of Bill Cosby’s case and Winona Ryder
A woman’s value apparently lies not in her heart or brain, but “between her legs,” according to right-wing culture warriors. The emphasis of virginity as “purity” is grounded in this belief, thus the campaign for abstinence-only education. This education is one example of the society’s difficult relationship with sex, which can be seen in how women are treated. Being ‘sexy’ for another person is seen as more or less acceptable, as long as no sexual act takes place. Women who display a gradation of sexual agency by acting, rather than only looking attractive, or those viewed as improperly influential or destructive inevitably face being trademarked as sluts and whores. A survivor by the name Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted in 2002 enunciated the inkling that sexual action injures women and makes them lose their worth (Renzetti). Feminists have been underlining that the conservative purity culture harms all women and not just the survivors of assault. An author, Valenti in her book, ‘The Purity Myth”, records that the social stress on purity imparts in women that their moral center is in their crotch, and not their hearts and minds. Purity culture hurts and adds an extra level of shame to sexual assault (Filipovic).
Majority of the women who undergo assault are blamed for the action. They also face discrimination the moment they chose to speak about it. The feeling of shame is so intense that many prefer not to speak up, thus turn to silence as a shield. For others, their concerns get ignored or doubted. Communities who do not want to acknowledge crime and its aftermath forces silence on victims which in turn smothers suffering. One of the culprits who got away with assault due to silence from victims is the famous public figure, Bill Cosby. Sixty women had come forward to press charges on Cosby for the attack, but due to his fame, the victims were only considered as wanting to destroy his image. Despite his criminal charges, he is still regarded a cosmic legend. Contrast to this, an actress Winona Ryder, a victim of assault from her ex-boyfriend of three years was convicted for two years in a shoplifting case. She was found guilty of walking off with more than $5,500 worth designer goods from a Beverly Hills department store. Inclusive of the items she allegedly stole was a cashmere Marc Jacobs’s sweater, worth $760. For this act, Ryder faced up to three years term in a state prison. These two cases show how gender inequality is a critical problem in society since the two individuals with entirely different charges were charged differently and seemingly unfairly to the lady (Zimmerman).
For most of American history, women have had to prove that they were chaste and had put up extreme resistance, to have any hope of winning a court case. Females are blamed since they have always been considered socially as less worthless than men. They are ‘satellites to male stars,’ auxiliaries and not people in their right. Their stories are easily reduced since they are also discounted as human beings. Most people also tend to believe that women cannot be trustworthy. Usually, victims who go to report assault cases get the distrust among police officers who are habituated to using grueling interrogations to delve out contradictions in a story which makes things worse. Some police units call their crimes probing divisions the “lying bitch unit’, clearly showing how cheap females filing cases of rape are viewed. Society instils in children how women are fabricators and treacherous from the creation story of Eve having deceived Adam. Female hysteria is also another intensely rooted label that makes them not be taken seriously. The fact that it is supposed that a woman cannot be trusted even with her feelings, means that even in cases of rape, she might have desired it while saying she didn’t, or craved for it at that specific time but changed her mind subsequently. Refuting abuse is believing that victims are insincere and it means negating their humanity and value (Crockett). Rape victims do not require similar justice influences. Instead, they need the law and society to fight with them to ensure culprits are dealt with appropriately.
Crockett, Emily. Rape and Sexual assault are common. So why don’t we believe victims? 17 OCTOBER 2016. https://www.vox.com/2016/5/1/11538748/believe-rape-victims. 12 DECEMBER 2017.
Filipovic, Jill. ‘Purity’ culture: bad for women, worse for survivors of sexual assault. 9 MAY 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/09/elizabeth-smart-purity-culture-shames-survivors-sexual-assault. 12 DECEMBER 2017.
Friedmann, Sarah. How the US Legal System Fails To Protect Rape Survivors. 21 JUNE 2017. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-the-us-legal-system-fails-to-protect-rape-survivors-65751. 12 DECEMBER 2017.
Pryal, Katie Rose Guest. Brock Turner Proves America’s Justice System is broken- but not how you think. 10 JUNE 2016. https://qz.com/703489/brock-turner-proves-americas-justice-system-is-broken-but-not-how-you-think/. 12 DECEMBER 2017.
Renzetti, Elizabeth. Why women who are sexually assaulted remain silent. 31 OCTOBER 2014. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/why-women-who-are-sexually-assaulted-remain-silent/article21414605/. 12 DECEMBER 2017.
Robinson, Nake M. Kamrany and Catherine. “The Global Problem of Gender Inequality.” HUFFPOST (n.d.): 210. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/nake-m-kamrany/gender-inequality_b_1417535.html.
Zimmerman, Amy. VICTIM-SHAMING CULTURE. 28 JUNE 2016. https://www.thedailybeast.com/winona-ryder-another-johnny-depp-ally-comes-forward-but-who-will-fight-for-amber-heard. 12 DECEMBER 2017.