Cybersecdn- The state of Pennsylvania has a rich past, a wide range of cultures, and beautiful scenery. However, it also hides a disturbing truth: it is home to the city with the highest recorded rape rate in the country.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program says that 173 rapes were recorded in Erie in 2020. That’s an incidence rate of 113.5 per 100,000 people, which is more than twice the national average of 42.6 and more than three times the state average of 36.1.
Root Causes of the High Rape Rate
There are several possible reasons why Erie is the terrible rape capital of Pennsylvania:
Poverty: Erie has a poverty rate of 26.9%, which is much higher than the state average of 12.5%. This makes it easier for women and girls to be sexually abused. This shocking number is caused by people not having enough access to jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and tools like counseling and legal aid.
Drugs: Opioids and methamphetamine are two of the main drugs that cause problems in Erie.
Drug use can make people less smart, which can make both victims and offenders more likely to be raped or to commit rape. Also, drugs are sometimes used as weapons to help commit crimes, like adding drugs to drinks or shooting them.
Culture: The fact that people in Erie sometimes accept or even blame rape victims plays a part. According to a survey by the Erie County Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ECCASA), some locals may have beliefs that may support sexual violence by giving offenders a sense of entitlement and making victims feel afraid and ashamed.
Consequences of the High Rape Rate
The high rate of rape in Erie affects victims, their families, and the city as a whole. It affects:
Physical and Mental Health: Victims of rape have serious physical and mental health problems, such as injuries, infections, PTSD, and drug abuse. This puts a lot of stress on the victims and the healthcare system.
Social and Economic Well-Being: Victims’ schooling, jobs, income, and housing are all negatively impacted, which can make their lives difficult and possibly force them to rely on public assistance or charity.
Safety and Security: Victims and their communities’ safety and security are put at risk, which makes people feel vulnerable and alone, and breaks down social harmony.
Solutions to the High Rape Rate
A coordinated effort from many groups is needed to lower Erie’s high rape rate: Government: The federal, state, and local governments should make and follow laws and rules that protect people from being raped. They should also give police more money and training and help people who have been raped.
Community: Supporters like family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers must work together to help and strengthen women and girls, bust rape myths, and hold offenders responsible.
People: Women and girls should be especially careful to protect themselves and others. For example, they should know the signs of an attack, get help, and take care of themselves.
Even though Erie is known as the “rape capital” of Pennsylvania, it can become a safer and more secure city for everyone if people work together to deal with the causes and effects of rape and encourage a culture based on respect and consent.