There exist significant levels of discrepancy between the number of reported sexual assaults and the number of perpetrated sexual harassment. The victim-offender relationship is cited as being one of the factors that lead to the discrepancy in reporting as well as disclosure of instances of sexual assault. The offender-victim relationships can be familial, friends/ acquaintance, partner and stranger. The following paper will seek to analyse the partner relationship and ways that it relates to sexual assaults. It is critical to note that sexual assaults are a prevalent problem in many societies with statistics indicating that one in every 71 men and one in every five women will be sexually assaulted during their lives.
Statistics further indicate that one in every five girls is raped before reaching the age of eighteen years. While rape can affect both male and the female gender, the female gender is seen as being at an increased risk factor. Although there is the belief that many of the offenders in sexual assaults are strangers, studies indicate four of every adolescent have in their lifetime been sexually assaulted by a person close to them. Based on the Child Abuse Statistics 2012 report, 22% of the sexual assaults that occurred between 2005 and 2010 were done by strangers. The report indicates that the number of assaults by a stranger is low despite the perception that most rape cases are done by strangers.
It implies that the remaining 78% of sexual assaults were done by perpetrators known to the victims. Breaking down the statistics further indicates that 34% of the 78% cases were committed by intimate partners. Despite these trends, there is the view that official statistics only capture a negligible number of these cases. Between the year 2009 and 2010, studies indicate that only 32% of the assaults on the female gender were reported. The Bureau of Justice equally explains that out of the 131, 950 rape cases committed between 1992 and 2000, 63% (83, 700) cases were not reported. The trend is worrying as it implies that the affected persons are not accorded the required support services.
In the past five years, records at the Level 1 Trauma Center indicates that there has been a rise in the number of rape cases targeting teenagers. It is shocking to note that while cases of rapes by stranger record slow rate, the number of sexual assaults committed by intimate partners are seen to be a sharp rise. The discrepancies in the number of assaults and the number of reports indicate that there are some problems in the reporting process with the common problem being fear. It is worth noting that reporting is an important process that ensures that the victims are given treatment and other forms of support.
While most of the assault cases among intimate partners point out to a hostile interaction, it is worth noting that there are also cases of cooperative interactions. Under the hostile interactions, the offender employs violence and other forms of intimidation to coerce the victim into giving in to the sexual advances. In the outlined case, it can be argued that the offender employs the cooperative interactions where he forced Sara to have sex by making her believe it was the right thing for couples. The case is unlike rape cases by offenders which tend to be violent and marked by both force and brutality.
Dealing with cooperative interactions is challenging as it creates the illusion that the victim was compliant to the advances. Contrary to assaults that are committed by strangers, there is often the view that sexual assaults as a result of cooperative interactions are due to agreements among the involved parties. In the case of Sara, it is critical to note that they had been dating with her partner and would thus find it hard convincing other parties that she was raped. A prior sexual relationship with the offender makes it hard to determine if the sexual encounter was agreed or it was a result of force. In this case, the offender can be defined as having had sexual precedence with the victim which explains the dominant position of the offender. Sexual precedence increases the risk of one of the partners being dominant on the grounds that they have had a sexual history together. Some of the tactics that are used by offenders in such cases include threatening to end the relationship, swearing and other intimidating tactics.
It implies that they focus on the vulnerability of their victims and employ intimidation. Different scholars are further of the view that the victims equally find it hard to terminate the relationships despite the ordeals. On the contrary, they hold the perception that their partners would change for the better. The case is evident in Sara who objects the reporting of the case to the policies. Rather than blaming the offender for the ordeal, it is evident that she is in the form of self-blame and argues that she was to blame for the ordeals. The case is often complicated by instances where the offender and the victim have strong relationships. Likewise, the nature of the relationship influences the perception that the victims have on the criminality of the sexual assaults.
Studies indicate that female individuals tend to view sexual assaults cases by their current partners as being less criminal. Sara case indicates that she did not view the assault as being criminal nature thus implying that there is the minimisation of the crime. However, her approach indicates that she is not in a position to access the required support services thus increasing the risk of not recovering from the ordeal. Focusing on many rape cases indicates that there are many victims who do not attain the required support services. On the contrary, there is the indication that most of the assaults are not reported thus implying that the victims are not awarded the required support services. In a typical setting, it is expected that the security agencies and the health care providers would work together to address the issue.
Although it is recommended that all rape case need to be reported, it is critical to note that most of the incidences go unreported. Focusing on past cases indicates that there is a risk of discriminating or stereotyping rape victims. High profile rape cases indicate that the victims are subjected to shaming and also doubted. Despite some women have bravely shared their stories, it is sad to note that minimal justice has been attained. The sluggish nature of such cases serves as a deterrence to other women as they are of the view that their cases would also be unresolved. In other cases, there are ashamed of making their cases public as they feel that they would be ridiculed by the public.
There are also inadequate structures and awareness levels of rape cases. Past studies indicate that many of the victims are not aware of the right procedure to report assaults. The lack of adequate information and awareness level of are supports services imply that despite the willingness of the victims, many cases go unreported. Over the years, there has been the stigmatisation of rape cases thus creating a feeling of shame and guilt. Many of the rape victims prefer making their cases private as opposed to confiding in other people. Rape victims have low self-esteem and feel unworthy. The feeling of hopelessness makes them reluctant to access adequate support services. Reporting rape often means that the victims have to tell the story regularly which may be traumatising.
Although some agencies have been put in place to address rape cases, they are seen as being inadequate to deal with the overwhelming rape cases. In some cases, police officers and other persons charged with the role of helping victims have been found to blame them. In the case of female victims, they are often blamed for their dressing and provoking the offenders. The trend can be taken to mean that many of the victims are of the view that the available structures do not offer the required support services. Nonetheless, rape is a traumatising experience that may have adverse implications on the affected persons. Other than leading to physical injuries, there is the risk that sexual assault may also lead to depression.
Contrary to shaming or blaming the victims, there is the central need to ensure that there are adequate measures to ensure that the victims are offered with the right support services. An example is the need to increase the awareness level of dangers of rape as well as the available support services. Increasing access to these services and boosting the collaboration levels among social workers and health care providers is also essential in dealing with evil. On the other hand, law enforcement authorities such as the policemen must be equipped with skills of dealing with the condition. There are instances where questions asked by police officers during reporting have been found to subject the patients to more shamming.