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Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: The Shielded Crime
Although sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence have different meanings, they are connected. The first connection is because these crimes happen more often to women than men. The second connection occurs when you commit the crime, you must be prepared to do the time. Sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence can result in the perpetrator going to jail.
I believe these are shielded crimes in our society because when they happen, many cases are go unreported. The victim of the crime may believe it is his or her fault because alcohol or drugs were involved. Some of the crimes are unreported because they are settled out of court. When these cases are settled, neither side is required to admit any guilt.
Some may desire to look to our government for assistance but in some states the government could be part of the problem. According to an article, California Government Officials Shielded from Sexual Misconduct Accountability at Taxpayers’ Expense” by Lawrence J. McQullian and Hayeon Carol Park, California’s government officials are using tax payer’s money to pay settlements when they are charged with misconduct. The payment amounts were compiled over a three year period ranging from 2015-2017. The total was not less than $21.3 million. Some of the agencies with the highest payouts included the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which paid out $15 million dollars. The University of California settlements totaled $3.4 million. The State also paid settlements using insurance policies. This cost was estimated at $4 million. California legislators became a part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. California actually has a law known as the “Legislative Open Records Act.” This act does not require that the public be provided knowledge of their misdeeds. My great grandparents would consider this a case of the fox guarding the hen house. Those who had been elected, were accused of a harassment, and then conducted the investigation of the charge for which they have been accused of. This is some kind of shield for those officials who are paid by California taxpayers.
William Beaver, professor of social science at Robert Morris University wrote an interesting article entitled, “Campus Sexual Assault: What We Know and What We Don’t.” What we realize is that sexual assault or rape is the shielded crime. “Sexual assault on campuses in the United States is a hot-button issue. How big is the problem? It is hard to know because many assaults go unreported. Whatever the case, it is difficult to know exactly how many of these offenses actually occur. Many crimes are seriously underreported, but sexual ones even more so. The Vast majority of campus sexual assaults are not reported to either law enforcement or to school officials.” Mr. Beaver talked about a report done by the Center for Public Integrity in 2010. The report titled Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice; found that most victims of sexual assault did not report it, particularly if drugs and alcohol were involved, and many female did not consider the incident in question a sexual assault. Many females just simply want this this assault to go away and by reporting it, their own character is the one on trial. Yes, many females live with this shielded crime for the rest of their life.
According to H.R. 6545 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior involving the use or attempted use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic, or technological abuse or any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim (Wendy McElroy, 2018). Wendy McElroy provides this definition in her article, Violence Against Women Act Diminishes the Seriousness of Domestic Violence, where she addresses some of the issues of domestic violence. Ms. McElroy was a victim of domestic violence and is very passionate concerning this issue. Her articles details items of domestic violence (DV) that the average person might not possibly consider. For example, under the term technological abuse you will find terms such as unwanted, repeated telephone calls, text messages, instant messages, or social media posts. However, who is to say what determines the number of calls a person receives before they are considered “repeated?”
In the TedTalks video by Ines Hercovich entitled, “Why Women Stay Silent After Sexual Assault,” she conducted a forum with about 5000 women present. Ms. Hercovich shared some interesting statistics to the group of women. She stated that 1250 have been or will be sexually assaulted at some point in our lives that is one in every four. Only 10 percent of the 1250 will report it. The other 90 percent will take refuge in silence. Half of the 90 percent will remain silent because the incident involves a close family member or someone they know, and that makes it much more difficult to deal with and talk about. The other half don’t talk about it because they fear they won’t be believed.
These type of crimes and misconducts are the shielded crimes because they happen daily on a daily basis and majority of the time they go unreported.
- California Government Officials Shielded from Sexual Misconduct Accountability at Taxpayers’ Expense | Lawrence J. McQuillan. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=10590
- Campus Sexual Assault: What We Know and What We Don’t | William Beaver. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?id=1241
- Hercovich, I. (n.d.). Why women stay silent after sexual assault. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ines_hercovich_why_women_stay_silent_after_sexual_assault
- McElroy, W. (2018, October 31). Violence Against Women Act diminishes the seriousness of domestic violence. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/414099-violence-against-women-act-diminishes-the-seriousness-of-domestic-violence
- The Violence Against Women Act Is an Insult to Fairness | Wendy McElroy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.independent.org/news/article.asp?id=11636
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