Well, I guess there is no way to “cheerfully” announce Sexual Assault Awareness Month http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/ that shares the month of April with Child Abuse Awareness Month BUT I was hoping to be writing in a more peaceful frame of mind…
Did everybody see what happened today with the University of Montana? Football coach, Robin Pflugrad, and Athletic Director, Jim O’Day, were fired “adding more uncertainty to a program already dealing with sexual assault allegations against two players“. http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/montana-fires-football-coach-robin-pflugrad-athletic-director-jim-oday-sex-assault-claims-against-players-032912/ Oh yay – MORE lives ruined and changed forever as a result of interpersonal violence and abuse.
What the heck happened? Where should I start?
On January 7, 2012 The Missoulian newspaper in Montana reported “Griz football player jailed on rape charges” http://missoulian.com/news/local/griz-football-player-jailed-on-rape-charge/article_30bf9632-38f4-11e1-815d-001871e3ce6c.html.
By March 23, 2012 The Missoulian’s headline read “Sexual assault report: UM says 5 students no longer in school” http://missoulian.com/news/local/sexual-assault-report-um-says-students-no-longer-in-school/article_0243a168-745e-11e1-b466-001871e3ce6c.html.
My main “irritation” isn’t with the abusers who “can’t seem to help themselves” by acting in their own narcissistic, entitled and completely callous ways (despite laws, moral codes, ethics, religion, etc.) but with those who are “supposed to know better” like the coach (not to excuse the abusers themselves).
As the msn article stated, “Earlier this month, a university student accused starting quarterback (JJ) of sexually assaulting her”. Further down in the article it says “Pflugrad welcomed him back to the field, calling Johnson a person of ‘tremendous moral fiber’.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!! This coach is someone young men are supposed to look up to with THAT attitude?! I’m pretty sure the coach wouldn’t pat the guy on the back if the victim was his own daughter, but – ah, I forgot – things like that don’t happen to people in the coach’s circle (until it does…)
Sexual assault is serious, life-altering and permanently damaging stuff and the stats from organizations like RAINN http://www.rainn.org/ don’t paint a happy picture:
OUT OF EVERY 100 RAPES
- 46 get reported to police
- 12 lead to an arrest
- 9 get prosecuted
- 5 lead to a felony conviction
- 3 rapists will spend even a single day in prison
THE OTHER 97 WILL WALK FREE
And the news from A Call To Men http://www.acalltomen.org/ isn’t much better where they report that abuse – including sexual assault – is
…an issue that impacts 12.7 million of us every year. That’s 24 people every minute; men and women that are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners. That is approximately the number of people in New York City and Los Angeles combined.
Many people think that domestic violence and sexual assault don’t affect them, but they’re wrong.
These are people that we know. They’re our mothers, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. These issues are massive but they’re still very hidden and misunderstood.
Obviously sexual assault is an enormous and overwhelming problem BUT there is some good news for Hawaii…
This legislative session, HB1716 was introduced that seeks to establish:
…that if a protective order is issued to prevent sexual offenses or child abuse or a recurrence of such acts that would constitute a felony between family or household members, the court shall issue a permanent protective order. Amends the definition of domestic abuse to include sexual offenses or child abuse committed by one family or household member against another family or household member.
While this is not “THE answer” HB1716 is a tool and certainly a step in the right direction in protecting those who’ve been victimized while holding “the other 97” in some form of accountability WITHOUT jail time.
HB1716 was unanimously passed essentially (the state representatives who were at the bill’s hearing that day voted in support of it) by the House Human Services Committee and referred on to the House Judiciary Committee where it has “sat” since early February.
What needs to be done to make this bill a law? The next step would be to contact the House Judiciary Chair’s office that would belong to Representative Gilbert Keith-Agaran at 586-6210 and ask that HB1716 be heard by his committee ASAP.
In the meantime, the color that represents sexual assault awareness is TEAL so don a ribbon throughout the month of April and tell everyone who asks what it’s all about.