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Crimes That Are Downplayed in the US

The exploding crime rate in this country is a point of concern to the populace as well as to the victims of these crimes. The number of unreported or under-reported incidents is even more disturbing. The very nature of many of these unspeakable incidents is the reason why victims fail to report them.

Spousal abuse
Topping the list are cases of spousal abuse. Generally, but not always, they involve violence by a man against his wife or female companion. Even when the potential of serious bodily injury or death is a possibility, police are not called. The fear of retaliation is always a concern, as is the loss of companionship, financial support and other social issues often involving children. If not reported, the abuse usually continues and becomes more of a threat over time. According to hearings conducted by the United States Judiciary Committee on August 29 and December 11, 1990, three to four million female victims suffer beatings in their homes every year.

Rape underreported
As serious as the non-reporting of rapes by female victims is the stigma of that abuse, and when coupled with the embarrassment is often too much to cope with. In certain parts of the world, most notably among the Muslim population, rape is not reported at all. In the U.S., a startling 16 percent of women have either been subjected to an attempt or a completed rape. According to CBS News, 90,000 rapes were reported, while a mind blowing 75,000 were not.

Church sexual improprieties
Until recently, the wave of sexual improprieties and accusations against members of the Catholic clergy all through the country was rumored or hinted at by reporters and more specifically, the editors and publishers of many influential news publications. Reporters were reluctant to break the code of silence. Stories that were discussed privately behind closed doors, stayed there for generations. Vatican damage control worked overtime to hush up the revelation of these dastardly accusations.

The Church is a powerful institution with a reach that extends way beyond their altars. There had always been an understood precedent in place which excluded embarrassing discussions and potentially harmful revelations relating to the morality of priests and their superiors. When the first reports made headlines in recent years, the floodgates opened. Still, it is assumed that there are many more stories waiting to be told and more priests exposed and prosecuted.

Sex slave trafficking
Human sex slave trafficking is another area that fails to attract the attention it warrants. It's as if we as a country have difficulty believing that a practice so repulsive and so totally against our American way of life is alive. We are in denial about the reality of it. The truth is, that according to information on file and collected from all corners and regions of the US, there are 800,000 children each year who are victims of the heinous practice. Much of the information and actual circumstances remain undisclosed and hidden from public view because of the reluctance of the victims to speak out against their oppressors. Some fear deportation because they are illegal. Others fear the pimps that enslaved them, while a segment fears repercussions toward their parents and family back in their home country.

In Michigan’s Oakland County, a prosperous suburb of Detroit, 26 suspects are to be arraigned pending charges that they were involved in a massive child sex trafficking operation that occurred on July 29, 2013. This was part of a massive Federal operation under the auspices of the Innocence Lost National Initiative which covered 76 U.S. cities. The bust that extended across the nation took 150 pimps off the street and freed scores of teenage sex slaves, most of whom were runaways or foreign aliens.

Race and religion
There are other incidents of under-reporting to be sure, many of which depend on individual points of view, or race. If you happen to be African-American, you may believe that facts about white on black crimes are under- reported or distorted. The flip side reverses the feeling and holds that the number of black on white incidents is misrepresented. The belief among a significant number of the white population assumes that the liberal Press slants reports to favor the black community. The entire matter is reflective of the state of politics in the U.S.

There is a strong feeling among some citizens, especially members of the conservative right, that Muslim crimes against Christians are underexposed and even covered. That reasoning claims that the Press understates any threat possibilities so to avoid inflaming sensitive Muslims and may cause incidents of unrest to erupt.

As one learns while getting their criminal justice masters degree, these trends will continue to change about how crimes will be reported in the future.  Reporting Internet bullying will gain momentum as will discrimination against gays, hackers and invasive government spying.  Americans are becoming increasingly aware of their Constitutional rights and their interpretation as they relate to personal choices.

Trisha Vivona is a freelance writer and social media talent valuing innovation, hard work, and a relentless approach to creating value for clients and stakeholders. She can be reached onTwitterFacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

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