The National Organization for Women has kicked off a campaign to combat violence against women. Last month the Clinton Administration opened a new door at the Justice Department just for this purpose and christened it with $26 million in grants. At that time we were told by the President that a violent crime is committed against a woman every 12 seconds, that 3 to 4 million women are victims of domestic violence every year and that rape rates have risen nearly three times faster than the overall crime rate.
Crime is a major problem in this country. I was at a meeting yesterday where I was told about a group of underage thugs who recently raped a woman and beat up a man in my small community. Everyone knows who they are, but the local sheriff advised against pressing charges, saying there was nothing more he could do to them.
Crime is a local problem, and federal programs that mandate “gender sensitivity training” for judges and extend federal civil rights protection for crimes “motivated by gender” only make matters worse. If I’m mugged and by purse is stolen I don’t want a panel called in to try to determine if the mugger was really after my money, or if he simply had a grudge against women. I want him punished!
A bunch of screaming feminists railing at the new Republican leaders who are trying to turn money and authority back to the states, this new mini bureaucracy at the Justice Department and all these phony figures don’t help the situation.. The Statistical Assessment Service has been doing its best to put down these fake figures, but it’s an uphill battle. It seems that the “boom” in crimes against women reflects a change in the way the Justice Department is counting rape incidents. A soon to be released report will show that crimes against women have soared from 150,000 in 1992 to 485,000 in 1993. This doesn’t mean that crimes against women have increased three-fold, it simply reflects a new figure that was added which tries to “estimate”all the unreported assaults.
The actual rape rate is falling. A 20 year profile provided by the National Crime Victimization Survey shows that the number of rapes and attempted rapes declined from 151,700 in 1973 to 83,080 in 1992, which is the most recent year data is available The rape rate per 1000 women dropped even more sharply form 1.8 in 1973 to 0.8 in 1992.
Also, you should remember that men face four times the risk of aggravated assault by strangers, they are more than three times as likely to be murdered and twice as likely to be assaulted by an acquaintance. Crime is a problem in this country and it is not limited to one gender. It will never be corrected until we have the will to punish criminals and to hold those entrusted with making and enforcing our laws accountable.