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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is Rape Serious?

A friend passed this article on to me and it really is a great piece about the seriousness of rape. Nicholas Kristof, author of the Op-ed, focuses on how our criminal justice system has deemed the crime of rape as trivial by leaving countless rape kits untested. He shares a story about a suspect that sexually assaults two more victims while the rape kit of his first victim remains unprocessed.

To many of us working in the field of Sexual Violence Prevention this story is all too familiar and we are very aware of how often these undetected rapists will strike again before being caught. Still, the statistics in this article struck me in the wake of the "Swine Flu" scare (less than 5,000 victims) which has recently been elevated to pandemic status despite the fact that influenza (aka, "the common flu") continues to infect more people (200,000 victims) and is responsible for more flu-related deaths. What catches my eye at the moment is how sexual violence, by comparison, is a far more wide spread problem in that there are nearly a million victims worldwide each year (including 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States), yet, it remains one of the lowest priorites to be dealt with as shown in Kristof's article.

When will we take rape seriously?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another installment of a feel good story: "A Journal for Jordan"

A friend recently told me the story behind this journal which was explained to me as a father to son version of "PS I love you" -- which I have no problem admitting that I actually liked the movie (even though I never read the book). I was immediately taken in by the fact that a parent, especially a father, had the foresight to write down everything that he wanted his child, in this instance a son, to know just in case he was not around to teach him.

What a daunting task! I recently have become a parent and can not even began to imagine all the things that I would want to write down in such a journal to make sure my son would know, just in case I'm not around to teach him. I also can not imagine how this father was able to write such a work of love under the pressure of war, where the harshest realities of life are continually on display.

I went to the local bookstore to read more and found that the book leans more towards telling the love story between the parents than advice giving between father and son. Many people on Amazon have given bad reviews because of this fact. But, I got to tell you that a father that professes a legacy of love for his partner might be leaving behind some of the best advice his son will ever receive. Sure, there are a lot practical things to teach a 2 year old before they become an adult. However, I am certain that the most practical thing for a young man to learn is how to treat women in his life with love, equality, admiration, and respect.

Without his father in his life to model these essential characteristics as an emotional coach, what more for his father to do then to write his personal journey to manhood in a journal to his son? We need more young men to learn these things and more fathers to mentor the young men in their lives about why loving and honoring women in their life is so important.