Rape Victims Rights

Topics: Rape, Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior Pages: 10 (4036 words) Published: March 20, 2005
STo Report or Not to Report, That is the Question: a Case Study on Rape Victims

Concerning philosophies of morality, rape is no doubt abhorred. However, what is debatable is whether or not it is one's duty to ensure that a rape is reported. In a particular case, one hotline operator finds herself in a dilemma that challenges her duties as a licensed social worker, with the obligation of ensuring that victims report their rape. As a part of the twenty-four-hour hotline staff at a local rape crisis center, the duty of the hotline operator is to provide the support and counseling necessary to protect the victim's identity. As a part of the advocacy services the hotline provides, the crisis center is dedicated to aiding victims both in reporting their crimes, and in the process such an action entails. Some people call the crisis center with the intention of reporting their rapes because they feel empowered to do so. Other callers do not wish to report their rapes for personal reasons, and still other individuals are undecided as to a proper course of action. Phone operators are responsible for taking calls for the crisis center's advocacy program, and they must also take into account the purpose of the center's companion program. The companion program empowers the social worker answering emergency calls to obtain an understanding of the difficulties victims encounter in the process of reporting their rapes. Thus, the social worker must face the fact that women who have suffered as a result of their rape have a right to be notified of the potential traumas involved in reporting the crime. A lot of times rape victims are unprepared for the insensitive and harsh treatment they may receive from the police, hospitals, and legal system. If the hotline operator warns her of such difficulties, chances are the victim will be discouraged to report the crime. On the other hand, encouragement to report may not be in the best interest of the victim, particularly if she is too physically and emotionally weak to bear the processes because of the trauma already endured from the rape (Rothman 205-208). Statement of Moral Dilemmas

The two sides of this situation present general ethical conflicts of interest. That is, should the hotline operator value her professional commitment, as a social worker, to justice more than her obligation the client's best interest? Furthermore, this case poses the important underlying question as to whether or not it is ever okay for a social worker to misrepresent information to her client regardless if her intent is to protect society. The case of the hotline operator represents an important conflict that occurs regularly between individual values and societal values. At first glance, one could argue that John Stuart Mills would support the utilitarian approach to such a situation and be in favor of ensuring that victims report their crimes in order to value the benefit of society as whole. However, such superficial examinations fail to take in all the underlying issues related to rape cases. These are the issues that create a dilemma for the victim in deciding whether or not it would be beneficial to report her rape. For the purpose of this discussion, it is necessary to look not only at basic ethical theories of philosophers and the NASW Code of Ethics for social workers, but also it is of the utmost importance to consider specific characteristics of rape and the underlying issue of female oppression as having a negative effect on rape victims. This essay is also intending to prove that it would be the hotline operators' obligation to her trusting relationship with the caller that supersedes a duty she feels towards justice in society. Theoretical Analysis and Detailed Application

The NASW Code of Ethics is an option the phone line operator would need to explore when deciding how to approach her caller. According to section 1.01, she has a commitment to the client's well...

Cited: BOOKS:
Frye, Marliyn. From The Politics of Reality. "Oppression." Ca: The Crossing Press. 1983.
Rachels, James. The Right Thing to Do. NY, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2003.
Rothman, Juliet Cassuto. From the Front Lines. Ma: Allyn and Bacon. 1998.
www.americancivilrightsreview.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
www.eserver.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
www.paralumun.com. Contacted December 1, 2004.
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