Rape Rates Go Down as Countries Legalize Prostitution, Rise With Sex Work Prohibition

“Overall, liberalizing prostitution laws was linked to a significant decrease in rape rates, while prohibition was linked to a significant increase—but the magnitude of these two shifts was far from equal. Rather, “the magnitude of prohibiting commercial sex is about four times as large as that of liberalizing it,” write Gao and Petrova.
The average rape rate in the sample countries was nine rapes per 100,000 people. Countries that liberalized prostitution laws saw a decrease of approximately three rapes per 100,000 people, relative to countries that did not change their prostitution laws. Meanwhile, countries that banned or further criminalized prostitution saw an increase of around 11 rapes per 100,000 people, relative to the control countries.”

“Gao and Petrova do offer the caveat that “changes in prostitution laws might not be random. It is possible that a country changes the laws as part of a general program to improve women’s social status and is thus instituting other policies that may affect rape rates,” and although they attempted to control for this in various ways, these techniques “may not fully address the possible nonrandomness of prostitution laws.””

“their findings are in line with a spate of previous research linking liberalized sex work laws to decreases in sexual violence. For instance, a 2018 study showed that rapes in Rhode Island decreased when the state temporarily decriminalized indoor prostitution. A 2017 study found fewer sexual assaults after legal street prostitution zones were opened in 25 Dutch cities. Another 2017 study linked the launch of Craigslist “erotic services” ads in various U.S. cities to decreases in female homicide rates.”

Ron DeSantis has a Florida problem

“on one cultural issue that did hurt Republicans in the midterm elections — abortion — DeSantis is going even further to the right, preparing to sign a bill banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape and incest if victims offer proof of a crime.

“Wow,” said Amy Tarkanian, a former chair of the Republican Party in Nevada, where DeSantis traveled over the weekend. “A lot of people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks. I’m pro-life, but that’s pretty extreme.””

““If you’re running for president, you ain’t got no choice,” said Jason Roe, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party and adviser to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “On the abortion issue, if you don’t go as far right as the oxygen will allow you to go, it’s a vulnerability in a Republican primary. That’s just life.””

Rape victims can face huge hospital bills if they seek help

“When victims of rape or sexual violence seek emergency medical assistance following an attack, they may be saddled with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical bills, a new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found.

These bills can further traumatize victims, the study authors warn, and deter others from seeking professional help. Only one-fifth of sexual violence victims are estimated to seek medical care following an attack.”

Republicans turn on each other amid post-Roe chaos

“Republican state officials have been waiting decades for the chance to ban abortion.

Now that they can, red state lawmakers are mired in partisan infighting and struggling to agree on how far to go. The most fervently anti-abortion lawmakers are accusing their colleagues of capitulating on rape and incest exceptions, while those calling for compromise or moderation believe more strident Republicans are ignoring political realities.”

Rape and incest abortion exceptions don’t really exist

“Out of the 13 states with abortion bans in effect, only a few of them have these exceptions: Mississippi has an exception for rape but not for incest, while South Carolina’s and Georgia’s exceptions extend to both. (Oklahoma has passed multiple bans — some with exceptions, some without — and it’s still unclear which takes precedence.)

Another nine states have passed bans that are on hold. Four of those states include exceptions, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health rights think tank.”

“Most of the rape and incest exception clauses in abortion bans say that an abortion seeker must report the sexual assault to the police and then give the police report to their abortion provider, a process advocates say creates added stressors and hurdles for pregnant people.
In Mississippi, where a ban is in effect, the law states that, “No abortion shall be performed or induced […] except in the case where […] the pregnancy was caused by rape. For the purposes of this act, rape shall be an exception to the prohibition for an abortion only if a formal charge of rape has been filed with an appropriate law enforcement official.” The law does not specify who an “appropriate” law enforcement official is.

In Utah, where a judge is keeping the state’s abortion ban on hold due to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, the trigger law would ban almost all abortions but allow them in the case of rape or incest. Under this ordinance, the responsibility to verify that there was a rape falls on the health care provider.”

“Abortion advocates see all kinds of issues with these requirements. They create additional roadblocks for abortion seekers who are already facing challenges in a country where anti-abortion advocates want to ban the procedure outright, and who have undergone a traumatic experience already. The majority of sexual assaults — two out of three — are not reported to the police, and rape victims are often assaulted by someone they know, which further complicates their decision to file a report since they fear retaliation or believe the police won’t help, among other reasons.

And when people do report having been sexually assaulted, they are often not believed by law enforcement: The story of the 10-year-old Ohio rape survivor wasn’t believed, with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claiming that “there was not a damn scintilla of evidence” to support the story. Onlookers only believed the story when news broke that the 27-year-old perpetrator came forward and confessed to raping the child at least twice.”