Authors: David Lisak

There is no domain of crime and violence as fraught with misunderstanding and misconception as that of sexual violence. Perhaps the most telling indication of the degree to which sexual violence is viewed through multiple veils of myth is the following paradox: In the hierarchy of violent crimes, as measured by sentencing guidelines, rape typically ranks only second to homicide, and in some cases it ranks even higher... Such sentencing structures serve as a message from the community: “we view rape as an extremely serious crime.” At the same time, however, the number of rapes that are actually prosecuted is a tiny fraction of the number committed in any year. Between two-third’s and three quarters of all rapes are never reported to the criminal justice system, and among those that are reported, attrition at various levels dramatically reduces the number of actual prosecutions. Ultimately, only a tiny handful of rapists ever serve time for rape, a shocking outcome given that we view rape as close kin to murder in the taxonomy of violent crime.

Related Documents