A few weeks back I was invited to the Women’s Caucus before our Central Committee meeting and I had all these thoughts I wanted to share about women’s issues. Unfortunately, I had WAY too little time to say all I wanted to say. So, I did this short video of part of what I wanted to say.
One thing I think we have to work on, and at a county level we have a lot of authority to do, is helping victims of sexual assault. I see two areas we need to improve on: the institutional and the emotional.
Not only do most women not report sexual crimes, but once they do, they are rarely believed or told that there is nothing that can be done. That is completely wrong. We need to find out why police recommend so few cases to prosecutors, and then work with the Sheriff’s Office to change policy and procedure to ensure women are believed. The days of the “he said/she said” excuse needs to end.
Once cases get to the DA’s office, we need to ensure that victims are fought for. We cannot allow prosecutor’s offices to not go after sexual crime perpetrators because they lack the resources to investigate crimes. We need to ensure the DA has the funding necessary to increase the number of attorneys, emotional support counselors, and investigators to help victims of sexual crimes.
It is easy to talk about going after the perpetrators, but throwing someone in jail does not take away the entirety of the emotional scars left by sexual crime. As a county, we have to do more to help victims rebuild their lives. That means better long-term mental health services, including counselors. It also means establishing more and better rape recovery centers to help guide people through the long process of recovery.
We may not be able to help fully heal those injured by sexual crimes, but we certainly can do everything in our power to help.
February 18, 2019