Saturday, September 24, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Sexual Assault

Letters to the Editor
Baltimore Jewish Times - September 24, 2005

The Awareness Center wants to thank both "Sharon" and the Baltimore Jewish Times for having the courage to tell about and publish the Sept. 16 article "Teens Talk About Life After Rape"

"Sharon" deserves a round of applause, for surviving not only the assault, but misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, which unfortunately is way too common. It's great to hear that finally both Sharon and her family have been given the opportunity to heal.

It's so important for the Jewish community to accept that one out of every three to five women, and one out of every five to seven men have been sexually abused or assaulted by the time they reach age 18.

Sexual abuse and assault are often crimes of secrecy and silence. The problem is compounded as only 32 percent of sexual assaults against people 12 or older are reported. Reasons include fears that reporting could lead to further victimization by the offender; fears of other forms of retribution by the offender or by his or her friends or family; concerns about the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of an offender who may be a family member or friend and on whom the victim or others may depend; concerns about others finding out about the sexual assault or about not being believed; and concerns about being traumatized by the response of the criminal justice system.

The Awareness Center Inc. is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse and Assault, based in Baltimore. We are a victim advocacy organization.

Vicki Polin
Executive Director, The Awareness Center Inc.

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