In the U.S., we laud ourselves above any other country for being supporters of women’s rights and enlightened sexual politics. A rape victim is more likely to receive justice here than anywhere else in the world. Or is she?
In America, we still force victims of sexual crimes such as rape, child sex trafficking and sexual abuse to wear today’s version of the Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter: a public face.
Victims of sexual crimes too often have their faces broadcast on national news, telling the world the gruesome details of their ordeal and instantly making them famous for tragedies they might not want publicly known.
For example, recently, CNN ran a news story on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Atlanta on their website. In it, they make the effort to blur out the faces of the pimps arrested for selling children as sex slaves, but not the children themselves who suffered.
Why is this consideration given to the criminals but not the victims? The main victim says she is now a freshman in college. Has CNN forever removed from her the possibility of hiding her past from her peers? Have they denied this girl her right to start over?
Similarly, television media has made the two young boys rescued in Missouri famous overnight. If details of any sexual abuse they may have suffered in captivity leaks out, will they have a hope of returning to normalcy?
Victims of sex trafficking, rape and sexual abuse should have the right to walk away from their ordeal and start a new life, only sharing their trauma with those they trust. By broadcasting sex trafficking victims’ faces, CNN may just as well stitch a giant scarlet “A” on their chests, and sentence them to wear it for life.