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I was appalled at the apparent insensitivity of the writer and the editor for publishing the article in last Tuesday’s Los Alamos Monitor, “Girl alleges sexual assault”. Recent media uproar over alleged sexual abuse in the Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine stories have highlighted the need for siding with the victims.
In the Bernie Fine case, head coach Jim Boeheim was vilified for his insensitivity to the victims by stating that the case was “a bunch of a thousand lies” and accused the accusers of looking out for money. His actions showed no empathy whatsoever toward the victims – and he quickly retracted his statements. Boeheim later stated, “What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”
That’s more like the way he should have handled it in the first place. Regardless of the veracity of the alleged abuse, the victim must be protected and encouraged to come forward with allegations. There are thousands of victims of abuse who need to be protected and encouraged to come forward so that the evils of child abuse can be discouraged and hopefully stopped by a moral society. The article in the Los Alamos Monitor portrayed the 12 year old victim as a liar who has made similar accusations in the past. This in no way will encourage other potential victims to come forward. It may actually do the opposite – that is discourage potential victims to come forward out of fear they will be convicted by public opinion and humiliated by their friends.
I encourage the staff writers and the editors of the Los Alamos Monitor to think twice before publishing similar articles.
We need to protect children, and we need to expose abusers. Always protect and believe in the victim. If there is insufficient evidence to write such a story, then at the very least do not publish the article because of the negative impact it will have on scared children not quite brave enough to come forward.