Rape Victims Aren’t Victims, According to Georgia Rep.


Apparently, in Georgia, it’s not enough that women aren’t to be trusted to make our own medical and health decisions without government intrusion. Now, we’re not to be trusted when it comes to reporting crimes, either.

Republican State Rep. Bobby Franklin, of Georgia, has introduced H.B. 14 which mandates that rape victims, victims of stalking or harassment, or victims of family violence may no longer be classified as “victims” but as “accusers.” According to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Franklin’s bill would,

change the state’s criminal codes so that in “criminal law and criminal procedure” (read: in court), victims of rape, stalking, and family violence could only be referred to as “accusers” until the defendant has been convicted.

To read the bill itself is like one long assault on women’s autonomy and capacity as thinking human beings. Each time the word “victim” is crossed out in favor of “accuser,” it’s another slap in the face to justice. Franklin’s utterly misogynistic, hateful bill tells victims that regardless of what they’ve experienced,  those experiences aren’t valid and they’re not to be believed until our justice system deems it so.

Again from the DLCC:

Burglary victims are still victims. Assault victims are still victims. Fraud victims are still victims. But if you have the misfortune to suffer a rape, or if you are beaten by a domestic partner, or if you are stalked, Rep. Franklin doesn’t think you’ve been victimized. He says you’re an accuser until the courts have determined otherwise.

Rep. Franklin may be insensitive and clueless but it’s doubtful he doesn’t know that women are much more more likely to be victims of stalking, rape and other forms of violence in this country. The Family Violence Prevention Fund catalogues the statistics:

  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.2
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.3
  • Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4
  • Women are much more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner.5 Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male.6
  • There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.7
  • The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Women experience 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately seven stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older.8

Rape is a significantly underreported crime already, according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. To be classified, off the bat, as an accuser instead of as a victim places one more barrier to reporting the crime to the authorities,

Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police. In a survey of victims who did not report rape or attempted rape to the police, the following was found as to why no report was made: 43% thought nothing could be done, 27% felt it was a private matter, 12% were afraid of police
response, and 12% felt it was not important enough.

And, for what it’s worth, Rep. Franklin, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, your state ranks 11th out of the 50 states and Washington DC, for incidences of forcible rape. You might want to focus on how to best protect those who live in your state – including young people, who are the most likely to be victims of sexual assault and rape – rather than protecting the “accused.”

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  • catseye71352

    That Franklin himself may possibly be an offender?

  • beenthere72

    I’ve been wondering why certain commenters on local articles involving domestic abuse cases have been demanding that the journalist ‘name the accuser’.    Where is this all coming from?  Fox news?

     

    http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/top_stories/x69248580/Framingham-man-accused-of-trying-to-kill-girlfriend

  • goatini

    regarding family violence.  Evidently, only death by violent serious injury might ascertain for Franklin a sufficient level of “proof” that the assaulted person is a CRIME VICTIM:

     

    As used in this Code section, the term ‘serious injury’ means bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the accuser and may include, but is not limited to, substantially blackened eyes, substantially swollen lips or other facial or body parts, substantial bruises to body parts, fractured bones, or permanent disfigurements and wounds inflicted by deadly weapons or any other objects which, when used offensively against a person, are capable of causing serious bodily injury.

     

    (couldn’t get the strikeout HTML to work… had to delete “victim” with strikeout, which is as it appears on the GA house website.)

  • wolfwytch

    If he was stalked, would he be the “accuser” or a poor, poor victim? Let alone if someone he cared about was stalked, raped or murdered!I would not wish anyone go through that, however, not even a pig like that.

     

    Of course we women can’t be victims… that might make us *gasp* people! With our own minds, and thoughts! Goddess forforend /snark

     

     

  • brookswift

    To play devil’s advocate here, you are innocent until proven guilty in this country. It’s not necessarily legally established that a crime happened in these cases. I still think that this kind of treatment should actually extend to other crimes too if he’s going to bother. Singling out rape/stalking/etc makes his motives a bit suspect.

  • ldan

    A bit suspect? More than a bit.

     

    But no, changing the language, even in other crimes, is not acceptable. Is a burglary victim not a victim? Even if the person being accused ends up exonerated of the crime? That doesn’t mean that the victim’s stuff wasn’t stolen. To determine that requires another trial against the victim for false claims or something of the sort.

     

    Just because the accused may or may not be guilty does not mean that the victim is merely an accuser.

     

    And once again, given the very serious economic issues that abound. Is this really a priority for officials? If anyone ever wonders again why women feel that they don’t get a fair shake in this country, I am going to point them to the fact that at the beginning of 2011, elected officials all over the place felt that pushing legislation designed to put women ‘in their place’ was more important than almost any other legislative goal.

  • arekushieru

    But, brookswift, there is a definition for criminal and non-criminal rape.

    Umm… (looks at own rating, looks at brookswift’s rating, looks back at rating, looks at brookswift’s rating), why is brookswift getting a rating of 1.5 when he/she was only playing devil’s advocate and most likely was unaware of the fact that the law does distinguish between criminal and non-criminal rape?

  • ldan

    Not sure unless others have experience of brookswift trolling in the past. Devil’s Advocate is often a favorite troll derailing technique, not that I’m sure it was being used as such here.

     

    I think a lot of folks pretty much ignore the ranks between 1 for troll and 5 for non-troll.

  • arekushieru

    Yeah, it just tends to get annoying, after awhile, at least for me, as you have probably already noted.  ^_^;

    My brother is a huge fan of playing ‘Devil’s Advocate’, but, I can assure you, he is 100% ProChoice.  Although, he might not do so, publicly, anyways, so that doesn’t really make my point.  But Harry834 often plays the same, here, and I know that he is ProChoice.  Still, probably not making my point, since he is only one out of how many possible others?  So, just ignore me.

  • crowepps

    HB1, SECTION 2.14

    Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 31-10-18, relating to registration of spontaneous fetal deaths, as follows: “(a) A report of spontaneous fetal death for each spontaneous fetal death which occurs in this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred within 72 hours after such delivery in accordance with this Code section unless the place of fetal death is unknown, in which case a fetal death certificate shall be filed in the county in which the dead fetus was found within 72 hours after such occurrence. All induced terminations of pregnancy shall be reported in the manner prescribed in Code Section 31-10-19. Preparation and filing of reports of spontaneous fetal death shall be as follows:

    (1) When a dead fetus is delivered in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or that person’s designated representative shall prepare and file the report;

    (2) When a dead fetus is delivered outside an institution, the physician in attendance at or immediately after delivery shall prepare and file the report;

    (3) When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days; and

    (4) When a spontaneous fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance and the fetus is first removed from the conveyance in this state or when a dead fetus is found in this state and the place of fetal death is unknown, the fetal death shall be reported in this state. The place where the fetus was first removed from the conveyance or the dead fetus was found shall be considered the place of fetal death.

    I wonder what they’ll choose in the cases of early miscarriage where the tiny fetus gets flushed along with the clots — charge the woman with “tampering with a corpse” or with “conspiracy to conceal possible evidence”?

     

    I wonder if Bobby realizes they will have to investigate the MAJORITY of pregnancies?

    With the development of highly sensitive assays for hCG levels that can detect an early pregnancy even prior to the expected next period (menstruation), researchers have been able to show that around 60% to 70% of all pregnancies (recognized and unrecognized) are lost. Because the loss occurs so early, many miscarriages occur without the woman ever having known she was pregnant. Of those miscarriages that occur before the eighth week, 30% have no fetus associated with the sac or placenta. This condition is called blighted ovum, and many women are surprised to learn that there was never an embryo inside the sac.

    As described above, some miscarriages occur before women recognize that they are pregnant. About 15% of fertilized eggs are lost before the egg even has a chance to implant (embed itself) in the wall of the uterus. A woman would not generally identify this type of miscarriage. Another 15% of conceptions are lost before eight weeks’ gestation. Once fetal heart function is detected in a given pregnancy, the chance of miscarriage is less than 5%.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/miscarriage/article.htm

    Probably not — Bobby seems to keep his religious fanaticism 100% fact-free.

  • arekushieru

    Of those miscarriages that occur before the eighth week, 30% have no fetus associated with the sac or placenta. This condition is called blighted ovum, and many women are surprised to learn that there was never an embryo inside the sac.

    That brings up an interesting thought: if these kinds of miscarriages are investigated and/or criminalized, that really underlines the fact that this ISn’t about the fetus.  Especially since the blighted ovum would carry only the woman’s DNA, which would be in contrast to a fetus actually developing from its portion of the placenta which only carries the male DNA (the reason why the fetus has to suppress the woman’s immunosystem).

  • crowepps

    I’m no expert but I think you might be misunderstanding what causes blighted ovum.  The fertilized egg contains a DNA recipe which MIGHT result in initial cell division through eventual development of the placenta, cord, sac and the fetus and its various organs IF all the steps in the recipe were ‘printed’ correctly, IF the ‘supplies’ to perform those steps are available, IF no outside contamination skews the process and IF the woman’s body can stand the physical cost of completing it.  Errors in the creation of the male and female genetic packages or errors in their recombination cause development to fail at one stage or another a MAJORITY of the time.

     

    The sperm delivers a DNA packet that the egg can use to complete the ‘zipper’ it contains, nothing else.  The sperm is not a submarine delivering a teensy homunuculous which the woman surrounds with an amniotic sac and nourishes through a placenta and the placenta is not subdivided into sections with ‘male DNA’ and ‘female DNA’ — ALL of the ‘products of pregnancy’ including the embryo/fetus arise from the INTERMIXED male and female DNA the minority of the time when the process continues to work all the way to live birth.

  • arekushieru

    Well, even looking at it this way, I think we can probably still come to a similar conclusion. I think, outside of extreme cases such as parasitic twins, fetus in fetu, complete or partial hydatidiform molar pregnancies, etc… in cases where the sperm’s DNA fertilized the egg or otherwise involved in the pregnancy, itself, abortion is generally unacceptable when male DNA is involved.  It would certainly demonstrate their belief in a version of a ‘teensy homunuculous’.  

    This reminds me of ‘Glory Season’, a book by David Brin, whereby women had children parthenogenetically during one season of the year, but needed to engage in intercourse with men in order to bring on the onset of labour and delivery, leading them to have children in another season of the year with the ‘normal’ set of diploid chromosomes.  And this society had more of a matriarchal, than egalitarian, setup.

  • sandy-lester

    I have a really good idea read the bill before you write your article. It would save you from embarrassment.

    To make it easy, the link:
    http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/sum/hb14.htm 

  • arekushieru

    Umm, either that is supporting our theory or it is referring to a law that repeals the bill she IS referring to.

  • beenthere72

    Embarrassment from what?   I’ve learned in the past few hours that Franklin is the embarrassment of Georgia.   And whoever voted for him.  

     

    and your link is broken:  http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/fulltext/hb14.htm

  • ahunt

    I have a really good idea read the bill before you write your article. It would save you from embarrassment.

     

     

    Your point being what, precisely? Don’t be coy.