Spring 2012 Newsletter

Message from KCSDV Executive Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. What do we need to be aware of this month?

Rapists often prey upon victims they see as vulnerable; or who they believe lack credibility; or who they believe may be less likely to report the rape; or who may not be able to talk about the rape. This is why immigrants, children, elderly, people with disabilities, young women, and gays and lesbians may all be targets. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Rapists (and these are often serial rapists) know that a victim who is intoxicated will often not be believed. They use alcohol or drugs to facilitate the sexual assault. They know the intoxicated victim will not be credible in the eyes of the criminal justice system and its juries. They know this victim may not have the strength to overcome the sense of guilt and self-blame that is so common for rape victims. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Rape and sexual assault happens with impunity across the state. “Impunity” means "exemption from punishment. In the international law of human rights, it refers to the failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice and, as such, itself constitutes a denial of the victims' right to justice and redress.” A significant portion of our rural counties have no rapes reported to law enforcement. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Many rape victims deal with their assaults alone. Many never tell anyone of the assault, ever. Many only talk about it after many years have gone by. They don’t know where or how to get help. They don’t know who they can trust. They worry about their privacy. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sexual assault victims are sometimes/often treated badly when they do report the assault. They are threatened with “false reporting” if they just can’t face the trial. They are bullied in administrative hearings and threatened with expulsion from schools and universities after being blamed for their own victimization. They are unable to return to their apartments where they were raped but have no one to help them get out of their lease. They are sometimes unable to get a protection order because the statute does not specifically say, “sexual assault is bodily injury.” They are devastated by a prosecutor who offers photos of the rape to parents of other teens at the keg party. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sexual assault is pervasive and all too common. It impacts all of us whether we are direct victims/survivors or whether we are the grandparent, sister, brother, husband, father, mother, or friend of the victim. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sexual assault impacts one’s soul and it tears at the fabric of our community. When someone gets away with rape, that person assaults us all. When a survivor has no one to turn to, that diminishes all of us. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

This Sexual Assault Awareness Month, tell someone you know that free and confidential hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; that more and more law enforcement, nurses, teachers, social workers, and others are learning about the devastating impact of rape and sexual assault; that rape is not your fault. This is what we need to be aware of during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sincerely,

Joyce Grover,
Executive Director

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