Changes Over Time in the Treatment of Victims


For this Assignment, review the interviews in this week’s Transcript. One interview is with a rape victim from the 1970s, while the other interview is with a rape victim from present time. Consider similarities and differences in how the victims were treated and think about the differences in services across the time periods. 

Now, Compare similarities and differences between how the victims were treated in each time period. 

Explain how the lack of availability of services during each time period might have affected the treatment of the victims. 

Explain changes within the criminal justice system that might be implemented in the future to help improve treatment of the type of victim portrayed in the media interviews.

This paper must be two full pages, error free, scholarly source must be used alone with properly citing references. 

Here is the Transcript that you will use to assist you in writing this paper. I have also put some references below the transcript that you can use if you want or you can pick your own.

Victimology “Rape Victims” Multimedia Program Transcript 

Case 1977 
EMILY: “Things were… different in the ‘70s. We didn’t always have the right name for what husbands did.” 

EMILY: “We were young. I was just 28 then. 23 when we got married” 

EMILY: “He went to happy hour after work, and when he came home I hadn’t made him his dinner yet and he got angry – which wasn’t new – and he hit me.” 

EMILY: “The hitting wasn’t new either. It was what he did after that… that was new. That was rape. [PAUSE] It just wasn’t what the police would let me call it then.” 

EMILY: “After my husband finally passed out, I took off. I just ran. I had nowhere to go, because I didn’t know about things like women’s shelters back then. The only thing I could think to do was to run to my sister’s house a few blocks away, so that’s what I did. And that’s when I called 911.” 

EMILY: “The police in 1977 didn’t exactly believe that a husband really could ‘rape’ his wife. They listened to my story, but they didn’t bother taking any notes, and they didn’t call an ambulance – even after my sister kept telling them that this wasn’t the first time I had been hit. I wasn’t even given the option to file a police report.” 

EMILY: “They just made it all seem like it was all part of the job, you know? ‘For better or for worse, until death do you part.’” 

EMILY: “Eventually, my sister drove me to the hospital, and we waited for hours in the emergency room until we were finally allowed to see a doctor. He asked me a few questions, gave me a quick exam, wrote me a prescription for some pain medication and that was that. No mental health professionals came in, no social workers, no one took any pictures of my bruises, nothing. Just some aspirin.” 

EMILY: “Did I ever press charges against my own husband? Boy, I’m glad that question doesn’t sound as crazy today as it did when I tried to back in ’77.” 

EMILY: “That was the first year the state even had a marital rape law on the books. My sister told me I should press charges, and I knew she was right, but the lawyer I found wasn’t so sure.” 
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 2 

EMILY: “He said the law was ‘too new’ for a jury to really believe that a crime had actually been committed – especially because I hadn’t tried to defend myself when my husband first started attacking me.” 

EMILY: “The hospital we went to didn’t administer a rape kit, and back then we didn’t even know that we could ask for one. So by the time we even thought about pressing charges, any evidence there might have been was long gone and all those bruises had healed. That was going to make proving the case incredibly difficult.” 

EMILY: “Eighteen months. That’s how long it took my case to go to trial. By then, I’d moved in with my sister and I hadn’t seen my husband for months until I had to go to court and testify against him.” 

EMILY: “And as I’m sitting there talking about what he’d done to me, I see him sitting there, staring at me. And some of his friends and his family are sitting there behind him, listening, and shaking their heads – not at him, but at me. Like they couldn’t believe I would accuse him of doing something so disgusting. Like there must be more to the story than just that, and what a terrible person I was to put him through all this.” 

EMILY: “His lawyer asked me to describe, in vivid detail, not only everything that had happened between us that night, but also every little detail about our ‘regular sex lives. He was trying to say that because I hadn’t fought back, and because we did have consensual sex at other times, that what had happened that night couldn’t possibly be rape.” 

EMILY: “And I’m sitting there trying to remember all those little details that happened 18 months ago, and it’s like I’m just fogging over. There would be times I’d be standing in the grocery store and I’d just freeze, stone still in the cereal aisle, because it would all come back to me in a rush and I’d remember everything. And yet there I am, trying to answer this man’s questions and all I keep doing is forgetting little bits and pieces.” 

EMILY: “Eventually, the judge threw the case out due to lack of evidence. So I spent almost two years calling off work so I could go to court, using up my vacation time so I could try to prove that my husband had raped me, and in the end it was all for nothing. Just a lot of money wasted and a lot of unpaid sick days I spent at home in bed alone, wondering what I’d done to deserve this.” 

EMILY: “And he never spent a day in jail for any of it. Not for a minute.” 

©2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 3 
Case 2007 
JOAN: “I just ran straight to the shelter. I’d never even been inside that shelter before. But a girl at work had given me a pamphlet from there – ‘just in case,’ is what she said at the time – and I remember thinking, ‘When would I ever need to go there?’ Because I never had a reason to… until that morning.” 

JOAN: “That was the morning my husband finally thought that he had proof that I was cheating on him, and he figured he was gonna punish me for it.” 

JOAN: “He’d already hit me a few times before, when he felt like I deserved it, but he had never forced me to have sex before. Not like that. Not that angry.” 

JOAN: “My first thought wasn’t to call the police. My first thought was, ‘I need to get to that shelter.’ So as soon as he got up and went to take a shower, I just threw on whatever I could find to wear and I ran all the way to that shelter.” 

JOAN: “There was a volunteer working there named Maria. She could tell I was in trouble, so she asked me what happened. I was shaking so bad, I don’t even think I was making any sense.” 

JOAN: “But Maria knew what I meant. She said to me, ‘So, your husband raped you?’ And I said, “Well, I don’t know…” And that’s when Maria said, “If anyone, even your husband, forces you to have sex against your will, it’s rape. We need to get you to the hospital, and we need to call the police.” 

JOAN: “So Maria helped me get myself together, and then she arranged for me to be taken into emergency care at the hospital. She also asked them to perform a rape kit to gather any physical evidence.” 

JOAN: “While I was there, a social worker came to see me and she got a case file started for me. And when that was all over, Maria brought me back to the shelter, where she’d made me up a room with a bed and some fresh clothes, and she said I could stay here as long as I needed, until I felt like I was ready to leave.” 

JOAN: “I spent a couple weeks here, all told. But in a way, I guess I never really left. Because when I was here, I talked with Maria and the other counselors and volunteers about all the years of physical and emotional abuse my husband had put me through, and they told me I was not alone. And the longer I stayed here, the more women I met who’d been through the same things I’d been through, or their sisters, or their mothers. Some of them, they were still going through it, even then. Even now. So that’s why I go back there now, to volunteer. Because by the time I was ready to leave, I was even more ready to come back and help the next person like me who came through that door.” 

©2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 4 

JOAN: “A police officer came to the shelter on that first day to take a statement from me, and he tried to get as much detail as he could about what happened. He told me I was entitled to victim’s compensation for any expenses I had to pay for this case, if I decided to press charges. Even the emergency room bill would be covered by the state.” 

JOAN: “The big thing I remember was my lawyer telling me, ‘If they try asking you any questions about your own sexual past, don’t say a word. You just pause, and I’ll motion for an objection.’” 

JOAN: “That’s because the rape shield laws we have now forbid anybody from bringing up anything like that. Lawyers used to try to make a woman sound promiscuous, so it would look like she was the one who was responsible for getting raped. And then the jury might start thinking that a woman maybe brought that rape on herself.” 

JOAN: “My husband is currently in jail, serving a five year sentence for spousal rape. By the time we went to court, marital rape laws had been on the books for thirty years, so there was a lot of precedent for a case like mine. That didn’t mean it was easy.” 

JOAN: “I still had to rebuild my whole life without him – without the abuse, without the physical, emotional, and psychological trauma that he had caused me for so long. But the shelter helped me find a therapist and a support group for victims of domestic abuse. So even though he was gone, I didn’t have to heal all by myself. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to feel like I was alone.” 


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Changes in Time over the Treatment of Victims

Spousal rape law has tremendously evolved over the last five decades and is now prosecutable in all fifty American states. Even so, the statutory laws applied to demonstrate significant differences between the penal code for rape and spousal rape (Bogo and Green, 2002). This analysis will include the differences in how spousal rape victims were treated over thirty years and compare that with the present treatment from society and the legal system.


n Emily’s case, it is discouraging to observe the lack of concern by the legal system and the healthcare facility she went to immediately after she was sexually assaulted by her husband. Except for her sister, every other person did not recognize spousal rape as an actual and legally-protected area. Her husband’s family and friends judged her harshly at the courtroom for false allegations and supposed betrayal of her husband. Her husband was also aware that he would most likely face no legal consequences for his actions. After two years of a legal battle, Emily had spent time, money and persevered emotional seclusion by the legal system and her husband’s family. Eventually, her husband was neither arrested nor sentenced. In addition, it is also evident that Emily underwent great physical and emotional abuse in most of her marriage to a point where it had become her new normal (Busch, 2004). She therefore spoke on her experience with a normalcy and acceptance of her physical abuse until it manifested into sexual abuse. It appears that this was allowed and accepted as part o the “marriage package deal” whereby wives had to endure all the mistreatment they got from their husbands (Chung & Hardesty, 2002).

In contrast, Joan’s case occurred more recently, at a time when spousal rape had already been recognized by the law and the country’s population. Immediately after being abused by her husband, she escaped to a shelter that was recommended to her by a friend for such cases. Here she was assisted by a social worker who clearly understood the concept of spousal rape more than Joan did. She was provided with shelter, legal and psychological support. The lawyer who was assigned to her case and provided by the government carefully guided her through the process. Eventually, her husband was sentenced to five years in prison while she continued to gain support from the shelter. Afterwards, she volunteered at the shelter to help other women in the same situation.

It is evident that during recent years, there has been a growth in the institutional support offered to rape victims (Hawley & Chronister, 2003). After the incident, Joan was taken to a hospital where medical staff used a rape kit to access the situation and preserve evidence. In contrast, Emily’s hospital only offered her pain killers and did not have a rape kit. In addition, no mental of therapy was provided despite the fact that she obviously distraught by the rape ordeal. She had to deal with her own emotional struggles for years something that also affected her concentration and job performance.


Even though the contemporary criminal justice system acknowledges and prosecutes rape by a spouse, there are still distinctive factors that serve to reduce the seriousness of spousal rape as compared to conventional rape. A common example is the lack of inclusion of rape by threat and rape by coercion (George, 2013). This limits the potential for the apprehension of spousal rape which in reality takes complicated structures of blackmail and coercion. The penal code is also applied differently to spousal rape in some states which creates the illusion that it is not as serious as it seems (George, 2013).

Women must understand that any form of sexual activities against their will, whether perpetuated by their husband or other members of society, is considered rape. In addition to reformers making moves to strengthen the laws protecting against this crime, women must also take charge of the situation and come forward whenever they experience sexual, physical and emotional abuse from their partners.


Bogo, M & Green, K. (2002). The Different Faces of IntimateViolence: Implications for Assessment and Treatment. Journal of Martial and Family Therapy, 28 (4). 455-466.

Busch, N. (2004). Comparison of Moral Reasoning levels between Battered and Non-Battered Women. Journal of Social Work Education. 57-71

Chung,  G. & Hardesty, J. (2006). Intimate Partner Violence, Parental Divorce and Child Custody: Directions for Intervention and Future Research. Family Relationss, 55(2).200-210.

George, S. (2013). Couples Therapy for Domestic Violence: Finding Safe Solutions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39 (1).

Hawley, E. & Chronsiter, K. (2003). Applying Social Cognitive Career Theory to the Empowerment of Battered Women. Journal of Counselling and Development: JCD, 81(4), 418-425.

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