The Word “Allegedly” and Rape Culture

talk, Uncategorized, Words

By Grace Giselle


Nearly 2,000 people are raped daily in America. Women are the victims of the majority of these cases. Both male and female rape victims are unlikely to report their cases to the authorities.

When these cases are talked about in news articles or just in conversation the word “allegedly” is used frequently. Allegedly by definition means that there is no proof to justify a case, therefore the case is just a claim. While the denotation of this word is the correct term to use when describing one’s case, it seems to also minimize the idea that the victim truly was raped by their rapist. We should stop using this word as a cushion to allow lead way for the possibility that the victim may not have actually been raped. We should use this term for what it is— the justification that there is no proof for the case, not the justification that the rapist may be innocent.

Four out of five people do not take action in reporting their case to the authorities due to the insidious way many cases taken to court are dealt with in the United States. Typically in a case the abuser is someone the victim personally knows. Only two percent of rapists actually serve time in prison. The idea that someone who personally knows you and has raped you is likely to not have to spend time in prison after you have taken them to court instills fear in the victims. It seems to belittle the and make them feel alone. It makes them obligated to refrain from speaking to anyone about a traumatizing event that has happened to them that should be talked about, that there should be justice for.


Kesha’s case has been a recent news topic that very much proves how unlikely it is to be freed from contact with your rapist. One of the world’s biggest pop stars who quite obviously has been provided with the best of lawyers cannot even escape her rapists tie on her life. He is yet to see any sort of prison time either. The majority of women who are raped in the U.S. are of a minority group. These women are in no way likely to receive the ability to acknowledge that their abuser is behind bars. If one of the world’s biggest pop stars cannot even rest her head knowing she is free from a legal contract with her rapist, how can these women rests their heads with the idea that they cannot be freed from simple contact with their rapist.

To this day we still jump to the conclusion that the woman could be lying about her case. That a woman just wants attention. That a woman is nothing less than a body that can be taken complete advantage of. A body and mind that can be obliterated. We must start using terms like “allegedly” as its denotation. We must stop allowing the idea that the majority of men and women are lying about their cases. We must allow open arms and allow the voices of women who have been gutted to speak about what has happened to them. We must stand in solidarity with women like Kesha and Lady Gaga who have the power to be voices of the many men and women who are too afraid to speak. We must stop shaming victims and start supporting them.

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