Sean Spicer Using Sexual Assault to Justify Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Exploitative

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A 14-year-old girl was raped at Rockville High School in Maryland. She reported she was led into the boys’ bathroom by two peers and assaulted in one of the stalls. The alleged assailants charged in the case are 17-year-old Jose O. Montano and 18-year-old Henry E. Sanchez-Milian, who is an undocumented immigrant.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, was asked about the attack Tuesday during a press conference. After briefly acknowledging the “human” side of this “tragic event,” Spicer moved on saying the brutal act was part of the reason “the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal“ and is “passionate about” the issue. Spicer went on to say that this young woman’s rape case could be addressed through Trump’s proposed Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office.

Linking rape to the need to crackdown on immigrants is at best another clumsy Spicer statement. At worst, it’s reflective of Trump’s disregard for America’s rape crisis and his administration’s willingness to use rape to advance a false narrative of immigrants as criminals.

According to statistics from the Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN), based on U.S. Department of Justice data, every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in this country. For every 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free, according to the organization and also based on U.S. Department of Justice data. One empirical study of school sexual assault found that 53 percent of high school girls reported some form of sexual assault. Many reported unwanted kissing, touching and fondling which are all serious matters — but about 1 in 8 girls in that same study reported having been raped.

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