Letters and comments for April 20, 2012

By Observer Upload April 20, 2012 12:33 pm
Letters and comments for April 20, 2012

Believe victims


To the Editor:

Nationwide, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sexual assault is not a topic many people feel comfortable talking about. It’s a crime shrouded in secrecy and silence. This silence can make a victim feel more isolated than other crime victims.

Worse, victims of sexual assault are often not believed and may even be blamed for the assault. Victims hear things like: “What were you wearing?” “Why did you go there?” “How much did you drink?” or “Are you sure you said no?” 

Victim-blaming for sexual assault is an epidemic. Offenders are overlooked and not held responsible for their actions, making sexual assault one of the most under-reported and under-convicted crimes in the nation.

It’s time to talk about it.

Statistics show rapists attack an average of six times and one in three females and one in five males will be sexually abused in their lifetime.

That’s why Shelter From the Storm launched the Start By Believing Campaign.

One of the most important things a victim of sexual violence can hear from a friend or family member is “I believe you and it was not your fault.” 

On April 13, the Start By Believing rally was held at Max Square. Community members took the “I will believe” pledge. EOU’s Women’s Resource and Research Center then lead the Take Back the Night march.

Women’s Empowerment Day was held April 14. Defensive awareness skills were taught and a potluck was held. Also included was “Coming Home to Ourselves,” which included gentle exercises, personal expression, breathing and quiet conversation.

Call Shelter From the Storm, 541-963-7226, for more information.

Stefanie Duncan

crisis response advocate, 

Shelter From the Storm


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