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Show support for sexual assault victims

October 10, 2018

How can the area — and the nation — best recover from the brutal and bitter divisiveness of the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court confirmation battle?

It can recover by re-examining the crime of sexual assault, by making sure the victims of sexual assault have the support necessary to come forward promptly, to be taken seriously and to have their cases fairly and professionally adjudicated.

Here in Kankakee County, we have the Kankakee County-Center Against Sexual Assault, which has provided support for victims since its founding in 1987. In an interview last year, Tracey Noe Slach said, since its inception, KC-CASA has helped 15,000 clients and answered 4,500 calls on its hotline.

They are a victim-based organization. Noe has said in her experience, there are very few false reports.

Also reported earlier in the Daily Journal was the experience of Christy Alexander. Alexander, a nurse on a special mission, is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who works at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital. She is one of only 33 certified in Illinois to work with adult victims of sexual violence and one of only a dozen in the state certified to work with children who have been sexually assaulted. She was named the Frontline Forensic Nurse of the Year in 2017 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

In her role, she sees 50 to 70 victims of sexual assault per year. The vast majority are women. Close to half are children.

She deals with victims, she said, who are embarrassed and who have shown a lot of courage to come forward.

“We do whatever is right for the patient. We do not express any doubt, and we do not cast any blame on them,” she said.

So, here is the message. Pass the information on that services are available. Make it known victims should not — and will not — be blamed. We cannot change the past. We can change the culture of the future.

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