Vail Daily letter: Sex assault survivors are inspiring
Vail, CO, Colorado
I am writing to thank you for publishing the essays you received from us for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The whole purpose of our essays was and is to try to educate the public about sexual offenders in hopes that it will encourage people to learn more and thus be less vulnerable to offender’s manipulative tactics.
I received several responses from survivors of sexual assault, and notice that I use the word survivor and not victim.
In my 20-plus years in the criminal justice system, I have consistently been challenged, humbled and inspired by the courage of crime victims. Whether they report the crime or not, it takes amazing inner strength just to survive, emotionally and sometimes physically. To face the pain and process the heartache that comes with victimization and go on to integrate the experience into ones life in a healthy way is even more heroic.
One of those heroes wrote this in response to the essay you published about the myths vs. realities of sexual assault: “Deena, I do not know how to express how I feel about the article you wrote last week for the Vail Daily on sexual assault. When my mom showed it to me, I had so many different feelings rushing through me. It really meant a lot to me for the facts to be presented so clearly and honestly. Sugar coating facts and using stereotypical examples is the enemy of victims everywhere, for it does not tell the truth. The article gave me a sigh of relief when I read it and I just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation for you and what you did. I hope your article sheds light on those who blamed me, abandoned me, and ostracized me when I was raped and hopefully better educates them on how they maybe should have acted.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Once again I have been inspired and motivated by a survivor, I have such great respect for how she coped — and for how she has articulated in so few words the very heart of what I was trying to say.
As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
I am grateful to the Vail Daily for giving to our community by addressing a difficult and unpopular issue. I have other essays from survivors and those that work with them that I hope you will also publish. I see it as an opportunity to prevent future assaults and help other victims find the support they deserve, which is our highest calling.
Victim Services Coordinator
Eagle County Sheriff’s Office