WATCH: If We Treated Robbery Like Rape

Sometimes, the best way to realize our most harmful biases is to examine them in another context. A new video from feminist performer and writer Cynthia Kao exposes the way we interrogate rape victims, showing it as the victim-blaming it truly is — by placing the cross-examination that victims receive in the context of a different crime: robbery.

For instance, one of the cops asks, "Oh, right here in front of this window? Flashin' your goods for all the world to see? Kinda sounds like you were askin' for it." The other reminds our victim that filing a report could bring a lot of "negative attention" to the neighborhood. And, if the victim had been drinking earlier on, that would probably cause a court to side with the robber.

Once you get past the cops' excessive gum-chewing, you'll see that this video highlights several major issues with the way police and society in general handle reports of sexual assault. Survivors are often assumed to be at fault on some level, and are treated as such. The end result is that many assaults simply go unreported: RAINN estimates that 68% of survivors never report their sexual assault to the police, leading only 2% of rapists to serve any jail time. And, the stats for campus rape are pretty disturbing on their own.

Rape, like robbery, is a crime, committed by one person against another. Victims deserve care and justice — not disbelief and shame.


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