Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Organizing against Rape

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Organizing against Rape

Article excerpt

Byline: Civic leaders

In recent months the nation has turned to Steubenville, Ohio, for the trial of two high school football players charged with rape, a crime that happens far too often and occurs with alarming frequency in communities everywhere.

Nationally, one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. Of the female victims of rape, about 30 percent were between the ages of 11 and 17.

More than one third of women who report being raped before age 18 also experience rape as an adult. According to the Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey (2006-2010), sexual assault is an underreported crime.

Just as alarming, Duval County alone had 341 reported forcible rapes in 2012.

A FEW CASES FROM 2012

- A 46-year-old female was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint. The suspect was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

- A suspect was arrested for sexual abuse of a 12-year-old who was sexually abused from the age of 10. The suspect, a family friend, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

- Four juvenile victims were sexually abused by their stepfather. Incriminating text messages and inappropriate photos of the victims were found on his phone. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Adults can and must take action to stop this disturbing pattern. We must commit ourselves to modeling respectful behavior. We must resist turning a blind eye to the underlying misogyny at the foundation of behavior that devalues women.

We must not tolerate illegal, sexist or demeaning behavior from social institutions, media or each other. We challenge everyone to take survivors seriously when they come forward to report abuse, to reserve judgment and blame, and to support survivors in accessing the services they need to obtain justice and healing. …

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