Create laws that will drastically reduce the incidence of aquaintance rape
  • Petitioned Senator Amy Klobuchar and any responsive legislator

This petition was delivered to:

Senator Amy Klobuchar and any responsive legislator

Create laws that will drastically reduce the incidence of aquaintance rape

    1. Meg Fleming
    2. Petition by

      Meg Fleming

      St. Paul, MN

Thank you for being someone who cares enough to learn more about the crime of acquaintance rape and to become part of the solution. Maybe you are a survivor. Maybe you know a survivor.  Maybe you know someone who didn’t survive or was simply never the same. Or maybe you are among those who can just imagine what it might be like to not be listened to about the most fundamental aspects of your being. Whatever the source of your compassion; I am honored that you are here. Your voice is needed.  

This petition is straightforward and simple and you can quickly sign just on the basis of the few words above - no more information necessary.  If you would like more background, please read on. Please share any comments and resources you have to offer. You are invited to personally email everyone you know with the link and ask them to sign, and to post the link to organizations you have contact with.

When I have an impressive amount of signatures, I will join forces with existing organizations and present your signatures and comments to representative who can listen and who can help write laws that will work. I will update you before that happens. 

Because the problem of rape, in particular acquaintance rape in all its forms, is mind-bogglingly widespread and the effects are beyond devastating to both survivor and society, there is a clear mandate for many types of legislative reform.  The goal of this reform would be to bring more offenders to trial, consequence, and rehabilitation, and to inhibit future crimes so as to begin to create equal safety and freedom for all our citizens.

Here is one example of how legislation could be improved: Legally define sexual contact in which any one person is intoxicated by any substance to a point where consent/judgement is reasonably questionable as rape; hold all perpetrators, known and unknown to the victim, legally accountable.  This would make it counter productive for the accused to site the victim's alleged intoxication as reason they should not be listened to or respected.  It also serves as powerful deterrent toward initiating unwanted sexual contact with someone who is under the obvious influence of drugs or alcohol.

Right now, if you are raped by someone you happen to know when you are intoxicated or merely accused of being intoxicated, misguided people, including authorities such as the police, will blame YOU.  Yet, if someone you know rapes you, the excuse of their own intoxication is successfully used to avoid public blame, investigation, and prosecution.  This individual, or group of individuals, might even openly brag on social media without fear of consequence, such as recently contributed to the murders (or, perhaps, assisted suicides with malicious intent) of Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott, two beloved and exceptionally promising teens. As an expression of appropriate grief and outrage, please sign this petition and ask all your friends to sign. This is one way we can use our collective power to make things better.

Clearly, both attitudes, the “victim” is at fault for being intoxicated and the perpetrator is innocent for being intoxicated, feed the disturbingly high incidence of acquaintance rape.  Acquaintance rape is now a national epidemic, with conservative estimates from reliable sources establishing that at least 20% of females have experienced rape, 90% of whom know their assailant. Less than 2% of alleged rapists will stand trial, and far fewer will receive consequences in the form of incarceration or rehabilitation. These statistics become even more grim for the military, where overt ranking of power combines with a definition of rape even more narrow than what we, as a nation, have established for civilians. This illustrates the intuitive relationship between how rape is defined, the rate at which it is prosecuted, and the rate of occurrence.  (Sources include the U.S. Department of Justice report by Rana Sampson and The National Intimate Partner and Sexual VIolence Survey, 2010.) Though males experience this crime with much less frequency, given societal attitudes, they are even less likely to seek support or pursue justice. We can only expect the scope of the problem of acquaintance rape, in and out of the military, and for both genders, to grow worse until we change direction as a culture.  

We are in no position to point a finger of blame at other cultures or nations for policy and practice which systematizes violence against women, and to impose intervention featuring a military that has not dealt with internal violence, with statistics such as the above publicly available from many sources and commonly accepted as accurate.  This is not behavior which makes anyone more safe and is a complete misuse of resources which might.

There are predictable, consistent, and chronic health consequences of acquaintance rape which are personally devastating to the survivor and her/his family and which require significant, and too often inaccessible, resources to manage.  These include, and are not limited to, a well documented list including: Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, unwanted pregnancy, venereal disease, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, and a myriad of other serious physical ailments, along with increased risk and incidence of suicide (if “self destruction” is an appropriate term given the obvious involvement of others) with the immeasurable losses to loved ones and society which inevitably result. It most often takes many years and innumerable resources for quality of life to resume to levels experienced prior to the experience of rape. Many survivors do not have access to adequate resources, including health insurance and peer and other support systems necessary for complete recovery.

It is important to understand that the health consequences of acquaintance rape are every bit as challenging to overcome as the health consequences of the equally serious, yet much less prevalent, stranger rape. In many cases, learning to trust friends and loved ones again, which is necessary for recovery, can be even more challenging for survivors of acquaintance rape.

Despite the higher incidence and devastating health consequences of acquaintance rape, stranger rape remains more openly feared in our culture. This results in lack of appropriate response to the nature of the more common problem; less public discourse about acquaintance rape and fewer resources devoted to preventing this particular crime.  Survivors of acquaintance rape are even less likely to receive peer, family, and public support, and police and judicial response than survivors of stranger rape. Prosecutors are far more likely to bring to trial those accused of stranger rape, particularly if the accused is a member of a marginalized group due to ethnicity, race, or income. This may reflect the human tendency to want to see the “enemy” as somehow different from ourselves, or, perhaps, more easily identified or contained. The fact remains that most rapes are committed by acquaintances or family members of all description who are very often under the influence of intoxicating substances which we, as a society, allow to be exonerating.  These individuals need not trouble themselves with the weapon or mask we ascribe to the slightly more culpable “stranger.”  Society has already granted the acquaintance and family member power and impunity by refusal to grant equal voice to the survivor.  In every way that matters, however, one who rapes a friend or a family member is a stranger to that person.  We needs courtrooms to see it that way.

This is why, as one of the first steps toward improvement, we need to turn the tables and insist that the presence of drugs and alcohol in the body of either the victim or the accused is another reason to bring a rape case to trial rather than reason to consistently avoid this public exploration of justice that we universally consider one of the basic tenets of our democracy. If one chooses to initiate sex with someone who is drunk or high, or if one is themselves drunk or high when initiating sex, one can, and often will, be found guilty of rape. The shame of such an action is placed on the shoulders of the perpetrator and not on the shoulders of the survivor, a documented shift in attitude which would alone inhibit many crimes.

What about people who want to have sex when they are intoxicated? Couples can continue to determine for themselves whether they can appropriately express their sexuality when under the influence of any chemical. This would presuppose a high level of communication, trust, and maturity for both partners; something clearly different than what occurs in cases of acquaintance rape.  It is a dangerous misconception that there are significant numbers of people who falsely claim they have been raped and that, therefore, policy should focus on protecting innocent victims of spurious accusation. People who engage in sexual behaviors they choose typically go on with their lives happily.  By affirming that all people have the same right to say yes to the sexual experiences they choose without prejudice or shaming, we can further reduce any motivation to make false accusation that might currently influence a minutiae of accusers. This petition does not seek to reduce access to the justice system for any person.  Systems, such as the status quo, which do seek to limit access to the justice system for large numbers of people, ought to be considered suspect.

Legislating change is only one of many necessary steps, but it is perhaps the most concrete, the most simple, and, coupled with education and judicial response, the most likely to have far reaching positive results.  Sincere change in the United States might even support sincere change beyond our borders.  There is, with certainty, every reason to make it our highest priority to explore options, and no reason not to sign “YES” and pass on the link.

In the United States, and many other nations, it is commonly accepted that one cannot legally operate a motor vehicle while under the influece of any chemical due to risk to self and others. Likewise, due to risk to self and others, one should not be able to either give consent for sex or decide that consent has been given under the influence of any chemical.

Thank you for your time and concern. Please find more ways to talk about this issue and share information and ideas.  There are many legislative changes necessary and much to be done outside the law enforcement, legislative, and judiciary systems.  We can all be part of the solution.

Margaret Ruth Fleming

To:
Senator Amy Klobuchar and any responsive legislator
Please create laws that will drastically reduce the incidence of acquaintance rape.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Laurie Pirini SAN RAFAEL, CA
      • 7 months ago

      I have a 10 yr old daughter and pray she will never go thru what these girls went thru. If she did, I absolutely want those perpetrators charged as adults and to the fullest extent of the law. My heart breaks for these families!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • about 1 year ago

      Sexual assault is worldwide a big prolem, one of them is date rape! Date rape is one of the most heinous crimes worldwide now! Many rape victims are bullied later as sluts in the Internet. The rapists know what they are doing, the girls are only fuckbodies for them! Most of the rapists are classmates, the nice people next door, the nice students of the same highschool, the nice people at the job or often relations! That's a shame for these men and must be punished very hard by law! Here are some facts:

      What Is Date Rape?

      When people think of rape, they might think of a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and sexually attacking someone. But it's not only strangers who rape. In fact, about half of all people who are raped know the person who attacked them. Girls and women are most often raped, but guys also can be raped.

      Most friendships, acquaintances, and dates never lead to violence, of course. But, sadly, sometimes it happens. When forced sex occurs between two people who already know each other, it is known as date rape or acquaintance rape.

      Even if the two people know each other well, and even if they were intimate or had sex before, no one has the right to force a sexual act on another person against his or her will.

      Although it involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion. Rape has nothing to do with love. Rape is an act of aggression and violence.

      You may hear some people say that those who have been raped were somehow "asking for it" because of the clothes they wore or the way they acted. That's wrong: The person who is raped is not to blame. Rape is always the fault of the rapist. And that's also the case when two people are dating — or even in an intimate relationship. One person never owes the other person sex. If sex is forced against someone's will, that's rape.

      Healthy relationships involve respect — including respect for the feelings of others. Someone who really cares about you will respect your wishes and not force or pressure you to have sex.Alcohol and Drugs

      Alcohol is often involved in date rapes. Drinking can loosen inhibitions, dull common sense, and — for some people — allow aggressive tendencies to surface.

      Drugs may also play a role. You may have heard about "date rape" drugs like rohypnol ("roofies"), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and ketamine. Drugs like these can easily be mixed in drinks to make a person black out and forget things that happen. Both girls and guys who have been given these drugs report feeling paralyzed, having blurred vision, and lack of memory.

      Mixing these drugs with alcohol is highly dangerous and can kill.

      Protecting Yourself

      The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it whenever possible. Here are some things both girls and guys can do:

      Avoid secluded places (this may even mean your room or your partner's) until you trust your partner.

      Don't spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following your instincts and removing yourself from situations that you don't feel good about.

      Stay sober and aware. If you're with someone you don't know very well, be aware of what's going on around you and try to stay in control. Also, be aware of your date's ability to consent to sexual activity — you may become guilty of committing rape if the other person is not in a condition to respond or react.

      Know what you want. Be clear about what kind of relationship you want with another person. If you are not sure, then ask the other person to respect your feelings and to give you time. Don't allow yourself to be subject to peer pressure or encouraged to do something that you don't want to do.

      Go out with a group of friends and watch out for each other.

      Don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel threatened.

      Take self-defense courses. These can build confidence and teach valuable physical techniques a person can use to get away from an attacker.

      Getting Help

      Unfortunately, even if someone takes every precaution, date rape can still happen. If you're raped, here are some things that you can do:

      If you're injured, go straight to the emergency room — most medical centers and hospital emergency departments have doctors and counselors who have been trained to take care of someone who has been raped.

      Call or find a friend, family member, or someone you feel safe with and tell them what happened.

      If you want to report the rape, call the police right away. Preserve all the physical evidence. Don't change clothes or wash.

      Write down as much as you can remember about the event.

      If you aren't sure what to do, call a rape crisis center. If you don't know the number, your local phone book will have hotline numbers.

      Don't be afraid to ask questions and get information. You'll have lots of questions as you go through the process — such as whether to report the rape, who to tell, and the kinds of reactions you may get from others.

      Rape isn't just physically damaging — it can be emotionally traumatic as well. It may be hard to think or talk about something as personal as being raped by someone you know. But talking with a trained rape crisis counselor or other mental health professional can give you the right emotional attention, care, and support to begin the healing process. Working things through can help prevent lingering problems later on.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Mareck WASHINGTON, DC
      • over 1 year ago

      I am the mother of two daughters, I care the impact of violence and social media on the lifes of young people

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gloria Beaird MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
      • over 1 year ago

      These are senseless and horrific crimes against all people everywhere. We desperately need to come together to find the way to stop them, for the good of everyone.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • D. E-Platt POINT PLEASANT, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      Because no one should ever have to experience rape, much less have the perpetrator walk away. The survivor is she survives has to live with the experience for the rest of her life.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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