Mitchell: Rape case sends mixed messages on prostitution
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A recent case involving a prostitute and a john is making a mockery of rape victims.
Authorities say Roy Akins went to Backpage.com and agreed to pay a prostitute $180 for sex.
When the unidentified woman showed up at his Austin home for the transaction, Akins allegedly took her to the bedroom and, instead of handing over the cash, pulled a gun.
I imagine most prostitutes in this situation would have run straight to a pimp. But after leaving Akins’ home in the 1100 block of North Lawler, the unidentified 24-year-old woman called the police.
Akins is now being held on $750,00 bail, charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault.
I don’t have one iota of sympathy for Akins’ plight. But I’m grateful he isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street.
Mostly, though, I find this story disturbing.
For one thing, this is another example of the role Backpage.com plays in facilitating prostitution.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has waged an intense battle to shut down paid sex ads on the site, setting up stings and asking credit card companies to block their cards from being used to buy sex ads.
“We try to explain that this is a highly dangerous act,” Dart told me. “They go to the Website and meet at a hotel or people’s houses. Things can get very volatile. This is not the first time something like this has happened.”
Unfortunately, the way this case is being handled makes it look like sex trafficking is a legitimate business.
I’m not one of those women who believe rape victims are at fault because they dressed too provocatively or misled some randy guy into thinking it was his lucky night.
But when you agree to meet a strange man in a strange place for the purpose of having strange sex for money, you are putting yourself at risk for harm.
It’s tough to see this unidentified prostitute as a victim. And because this incident is being charged as a criminal sexual assault — when it’s actually more like theft of services — it minimizes the act of rape.
Earlier this month, we saw what a rape victim looks like. Melissa Schuster, 26, of Willowbrook, was stabbed 17 times and suffered a fractured nose, broken bones and eye injuries when she was raped by a man who broke into her home after demanding cash.
After a manhunt, Londale Madison, 31, of South Bend, Indiana, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, home invasion and armed robbery.
Though news media normally shield rape victims by giving them anonymity, Schuster told the “U.S. Daily Mail” she was waiving her anonymity because she wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life.”
After the heinous attack, Schuster was left sprawled on the kitchen floor of her own home. Though she suffered life-threatening injuries, the young woman managed to run to a neighbor’s house for help.
Schuster did nothing to bring about this terrible, terrible ordeal.
“No human being should ever be treated like he treated me. I want to see him put away for a long time so he doesn’t see the light of day,” Schuster told the Daily Mail.
For law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with rape victims like Schuster is an insult.