Who is rape-able?: Do the race and behavior of sexual assault victims influence the treatment of offenders within the criminal justice system

Much of the contemporary literature examining the treatment and punishment of sexual assault offenders within the criminal justice system in the United States focuses on either extra-legal factors or case specificities. Those studies that do investigate the influence of extra-legal factors, typically only include one status, such as race or class. This study utilizes Black Feminist Theory in order to better understand how the characteristics of sexual assault victims affect the level of leniency that their offenders experience throughout the criminal justice system. Data from the 1994-1996 National Violence against Women Survey was used to analyze the level of punitiveness experienced by offenders of sexually based crimes. Race and behavior were found to be statistically significant indicators for reporting the incident and criminal charges being filed. Keywords: Sexual-Assault, Rape, Race, Punishment, Females, Criminal Justice