Public Scrutiny Factor In Unreported Rapes, Some Critics Say
Posted April 25, 2006 10:32 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The publicity about an alleged gang rape involving three members of Duke University's men's lacrosse team doesn't appear to be bowing out of the media spotlight. With defense attorneys now trying to seek more information on the alleged victim's past, critics believe she will be put on trial.
The public scrutiny is one reason why a woman who says she was gang-raped 14 years ago kept it a secret for years.
"I shrunk from society almost," said the woman, now 30.
At the time she says she was raped, she was 16. She says she was drunk and passed out at a party. She never went to police.
"It would have been my word against so many other people, and I don't think I would have had the strength to put my family through that," she said.
It wasn't until a few years ago that she told her family about what happened to her.
"I felt horrible about what happened," she said. "I felt ashamed, and I felt like I brought it upon myself."
Her feelings are common, according to statistics. Nationwide, the number of rapes not reported is more than 50 percent, according to statistics by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
It's part of her past, but with all the publicity surrounding the Duke lacrosse case, it's part of the present, too.
"I just start thinking about things that happened to me," she said.
She worries fewer people will seek help because so many people doubt the story of the exotic dancer accusing three Duke lacrosse players of rape.
"She is being judged for what she did, her job, her occupation, why she was there," the woman said.
If people are willing to report, this woman will be waiting. A restaurant manager, she is also a trained hospital responder through
Interact of Wake County
, a private, non-profit agency that provides support and awareness to victims of sexual assault.