The Institutional Permissiveness in the Sanctions for Rape


We presume that rape, sexual assault, or sexual violence are straightforwardly and self-evidently bad, wrong, and harmful.


Yet, the way we commonly doubt, dispute, and deny rape, and diminish, deride, and denigrate those who have been raped, make the reality of rape anything but clear-cut. Worse is how those harmed and violated are both doubly blamed and doubly punished – by attackers and by responders - for the wrongs done against them. Worse still is how institutions for whom safety and protection are priorities, routinely and procedurally permit rape, promote (in the most literal sense) rapists, and publicly persecute the victims and survivors of sexual violence.


Why are there so many discrepancies between how we feel about sexual violence and the perverse way we respond to sexual violence?


Follow the links for a sampling of the contradictions and hypocrisies baked into our institutional responses to sexual violence.


The U.S. Military


Perhaps the single best place to start is the recent documentary, The Invisible War.


Learn more about how rape has been normalized as an occupational hazard of military service:


Judge dismisses epidemic of rape in military case


Review recent facts and findings that continue to make the documentary newsworthy three years after its release.


2014 Facts on United States Military Sexual Violence


Fact Sheet: Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military



The Criminal Justice System


As an example of how the criminal justice system has normalized rape – relegating sexual violence as “theft of services”:


Phila. Bar slams judge in rape case Teresa Carr Deni had its support for a third term. Then she reduced a charge to theft of a prostitute's services


Judge criticized for considering gang rape on prostitute theft of services


Raping a sex worker at gunpoint is just theft of services, says Chicago Sun-Times columnist


When a sex worker is raped, its rape not theft of services



The Catholic Church


The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie


Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Cases


What’s the State of the Church’s Child Abuse Crisis?