By André Coleman 04/11/2013

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Spread the word
To think that in 2013 survivors of sexual assault must grapple with either reporting the horrific incidents and face public scrutiny or living in silence. This is disgusting. These survivors often feel both shocked and disheartened when they soon realize that their own decisions and actions will be examined, judged and often blamed for the violation.  Similar sentiments are recalled by a current graduate student studying social work at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB): 

“Law enforcementa never apprehended the culprit and I became afraid for me and for other women out there, but what hurt the most was my own stepfather asking me what I was wearing when the assault took place. Did I provoke him with my choice of clothing? Did I walk or behave in a certain manner as to elicit the assault by this individual?”

This CSULB student is just one of the vast numbers of survivors who report sexual assaults only to find themselves being both blamed and shamed for their attacks. The negative stigma associated with sexual assaults has the potential to cause a barrier to reporting the incidents to law enforcement and this is a travesty. This year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives — and these are only the cases that have been reported.

This statistic is terrifying and should cause all of us to think about what we can do to decrease it.

With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we beg you to take the time to learn more about sexual assault and what we can do to make sure that during the time you have read this article one more person was not sexually assaulted or raped. The Steubenville, Ohio rape case has been all over the headlines recently. To us, what is most abhorrent about the entire situation is that the rapists, along with friends who filmed Jane Doe being dragged around unconscious, and the perpetrators’ football coach who laughed at the so-called “prank,” did not realize that a sexual assault was taking place. To us, individuals with experience in the area of sexual assault awareness, the case is depressing.

It is evident that there is still a great need to disseminate the facts about rape and sexual assault. We must spread the word about what constitutes a sexual violation. In spreading awareness of sexual assault we can begin to change the stigma connected with sexual assault and rape, and hopefully prevent further abuse. One simple step we can take is to educate ourselves and educate others about sexual assault. Sexual assault is preventable, and knowledge and awareness are the key components to decreasing the number of individuals who fall victim to it.


War on violence
We would all agree that massacres like the one in Newtown, Conn., should be prevented. It is such a sad disaster that ruined hundreds of lives senselessly.  
What we don’t agree on is how to do that. The aftermath has energized advocates of gun control (again). The problem is broader than that and requires an approach on a number of levels.
1. Gun control: This should look more like education requirements to own and possess weapons. Age restrictions and safe-locked storage requirements would prevent unauthorized use. Simply stopping law-abiding citizens from owning or possessing guns will not work.
2. Violence: We see this everyday in the news and it pervades our society. We need a war on violence and a return to decency that embodied our culture only a few decades ago. In fact, most of us still are decent, caring, generous people.
3. Unstable citizens: We’ve taken away many of society’s fail-safe systems for the unstable in our culture. Instead of mental hospitals run by the state, we allow all but the most disturbed to wander among the rest of us. Many are homeless, drug addicts or troubled in ways most of us can’t fathom. We need to address the mentally ill in a way that both helps them and protects them from themselves and others.
4.  Stop the moral decay: Our culture of promoting “no absolutes” continues to cause decay in our society. When there is no clear right or wrong, when any idea or value is just as worthwhile as someone else’s idea or value without a standard for right and wrong, it is no wonder that people go crazy and somehow justify their actions in some twisted thought process the rest of us would reject. How about a return to the 10 Commandments for a start? Even these 10 rules are challenged in courts as somehow establishing a religion. We’ve outlawed prayer in public schools. We consider “politically incorrect” the traditional Judeo-Christian values upon which the founders of our country based our laws, and discard those ideas as outdated, or worse. It is time for a return to a moral compass in this country that provides boundaries of right and wrong and a sense of hope that comes only from doing right.

Re: “Luck be a lady,” March 14
It’s so nice to see you covering stories like this. I applaud attorney Patricia Corrales for taking on such a difficult case at the last minute and turning the whole case around. It appears that without her input it may have been a lost cause for this family. Kudos to her.


Re: “No confidence,” March 14
Absolutely no surprise here. I worked with Rocha and have followed his career — always amazed how he has been able to stay ahead of his reputation. Shared governance ... don’t expect it from him. 


Re: “The worst of all
bargains,” March 14
According to the latest published “PUSD at a Glance,” PUSD’s budget is $273 million for educating just under 19,000 kids. That works out to nearly $14,500 per kid. Also, what about the $500 million (that’s half a BILLION dollars) voters approved in Measure Y and TT funds for facilities improvements? Those numbers are every bit as high as many top-notch private schools in the area. Don’t tell us that we don’t support education, because we do. PUSD is getting plenty of money. We are just not seeing a good return on those dollars.




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