STAR speaks out defending 'Tinder' rape victim
BATON ROUGE - An alleged rape in Baton Rouge this past weekend has a victim advocate organization speaking out in the victim's defense.
Jacob Witz, 22, was booked on a count of forcible rape Saturday. He was accused of attacking a woman after meeting her on Tinder, a social-dating app.
The report sparked controversy when some people started making comments online saying it was the victim's fault, blaming her for letting him into her apartment, even calling her a liar.
Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, or STAR, says this is called "victim-shaming".
They say it not only hurts the person involved, but keeps the perpetrator on the street because it prevents victims from reporting rape and often makes the victim drop the complaint.
"For this particular case people are focusing on the fact that the victim invited the perpetrator into her home and met the person on Tinder," said Racheal Hebert, STAR's executive director. "People are really questioning her actions and motives and some even say that she's lying. And what we see with these cases is that people actually regret coming forward and regret reporting because they feel that people are blaming them, they're stigmatized within the community and they feel like they have no support for coming out."
Hebert says instead of trying to find holes in the victim's story, people need to support the victim and focus blame on the perpetrator.
"Rape is not a punishment for poor judgment," Hebert says. "It's not a punishment for doing or saying things that we think people shouldn't do. Really the best way the community can respond to this is by supporting survivors and thanking them for coming forward."
If you have been hurt or experienced "victim-shaming" please call (225) 383-7273 or visit the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response website.