In regards to the recent alleged rape incident in Back Cove, the woman has recently recanted her statement, but please be mindful there are a number of reasons victims refuse to follow through with charges, like the recent incident of police negligence in northern Maine that lead to a shooting and fire after a rape report was made.
Part of getting a protection from abuse order requires that your address be sent to the perp, and prosecutors like to use any excuse they can to not investigate a rape incident. Refusing to get a protection from abuse can easily be argued implies consent, or at least complicates the judicial narrative that the law is black and white.
The public may never know what if anything happened, but rape is not a rare or isolated incident. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are raped, 75% before the age of 18, 50% before the age of 14. 95% of rapes are committed by men. Only 2/3 rapes will ever be reported because of slut shaming, victim blaming and fear of retribution. And because of prosecutor and police unwillingness or inability to investigate, only 2 of 100 rapes will ever lead to jail time.
This recent incident opened up an important dialogue, and even if the situation is now blurred by her recanting of what happened, we need to keep these dialogues going. Ways you can help make our communities safer are to support sexual assault support services, MECASA, SAASM, SARSSM, etc, challenge rape culture by refusing to allow slut shaming and victim blaming to dominate the dialogue when a rape is reported, support those in your life who share their story, and let people know you don’t think rape is funny.
Because victims all too often will not, or cannot speak out, and the state all too often cannot or will not hold perps accountable, its up to women, and their male and gender-nonconforming allies to develop our own ways of making our communities safe.
-Michael Anthony, Portland
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