Within the past month, Texas enforced one of the strictest abortion ban in the country by restricting an abortion at six weeks regardless of any reasoning. When asked how the policy will affect rape and incest survivors on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he wants to “eliminate rape” in his state. This statement is contradictory in reality and has caught many people off guard as to why he thinks that would possibly be true.
“Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets,” he said Tuesday. “So goal No. 1 in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of rape.”From the USAToday article, “Experts say Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s rape comments perpetuate a dangerous stereotype about sexual violence”
Abbott’s approach, according to sexual assault specialists, is profoundly wrong. When leaders believe that arresting or confining all rapists will stop sexual assault, they ignore the prevalence of rape and the enormous cultural factors that shape a culture that minimizes sexual violence, excuses offenders, and blames victims. Most rape survivors are afraid or ashamed to report their assault to the authorities, making it difficult to identify the offenders. And the perpetrators are frequently found in women’s homes and jobs, as well as their physicians’ offices and college dorms. By enforcing this law, it will cause victims to become even more uncomfortable since they are unable to make their own decision.
Abbott’s statement was viewed as insensitive because he does not have the right to speak on behalf of women. Abbott’s plan falsely implies that women are comfortable reporting, that they trust law enforcement, and that the judicial system is capable of delivering justice. Women who do report rape typically take a long time to do so because it is frightening and unsettling, and victims victimized by people they know are frequently left questioning if their experience was a violation in the first place.
A reason why many victims are scared to report is because of the lack of discipline the offenders receive and the possibility that they can face them again. The great majority of sexual offenders are not sentenced to jail. According to Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)’s study of Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation data, 995 perpetrators of 1,000 rapes will never be prosecuted.
This ban is not morally acceptable in the eyes of a victim or survivor. Putting pressure and restrictions upon survivors will only add more trauma to their pre-existing trauma they are currently dealing with. By rushing and limiting what they can do with their bodies will only hurt them physically and mentally.