Friday’s letters: Sexual assault victims are focused on surviving, not taking notes

Published October 11 2018

Melania Trump: Women accusing men should ‘show the evidence’, Oct. 10

Sexual assault is often hard to report to police

First Lady Melania Trump expressed her view that sexual assault victims should have proof before making allegations toward the alleged perpetrator. Her “standard” belies the facts of what happens to a victim of sexual assault. In my practice as a licensed psychologist I see victims of brutal sexual assault every day. Many of the women have been assaulted more than one time, either by the same perpetrator or by different ones.

The acute trauma these women have experienced by their assault makes having a “plan” to generate evidence for a report to law enforcement a slim possibility. After that initial shock, women often feel tremendous fear, as many have been threatened, have disabling anxiety, shame, disconnection from others and, in particular, great concerns that they will not be believed or will be blamed for being assaulted.

Sometimes the perpetrator is a powerful person in the community, and making an accusation toward them takes great courage. But most often there is great fear and avoidance of coming forward. There are also countless women who have come forward, are not believed and are further traumatized by the lack of human decency they have encountered. Mrs. Trump’s comments are similar to those made by Nancy Reagan in her “Just Say No” to drugs campaign, as if life really worked in a ridiculously simple fashion.

The fact is that being the victim of a sexual assault is a life-changing, and often life-ruining, trauma that leaves deep and permanent scars. When will those in power come to that realization and not blame the victim or use it to personal advantage?

Michael Greenberg, Clearwater

Markets plunge across the board | Oct. 11

Taking credit, not blame

President Donald Trump, as the market rose early this year: “The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me.” This week, as the market bombed: “The Fed’s gone crazy. This is the correction we’ve been waiting for.” Can’t have it both ways.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Hurricane Michael

Putting politicians to work

Wednesday’s Times pictures GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis lugging water bottles in preparation for Hurricane Michael. The next page shows his opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, filling sandbags. It’s nice to see the two of them doing manual labor for a change.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor

Nobel peace laureates | Oct. 6

Mute button is a godsend

It’s a shame a Nobel Prize cannot be awarded posthumously. The late electrical engineer for the Zenith company, Robert Adler, co-invented the TV remote control — along with what we now call the mute button — in 1956. I have gotten much use of the mute button to silence the awful negative political adds that saturate the airwaves. Adler should have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize.

Ken Deroche, Tampa

Leaky septic tanks fueling algae?

Many sources of pollution

Gov. Rick Scott okayed the repeal of a law to require periodic inspections as a way of preventing pollution from leaky septic tanks. But there is an additional impact: nitrogen and phosphate pollution from non-leaky septic tanks — ones operating correctly. Leaching of algae-supporting nutrients into the ground water is the end result of processes in a septic tank. Another source of these nutrients, aging municipal sewage systems, should be addressed, too. Many are old and operate poorly, having been built a half century or more ago.

Gregory Matthews, St. Petersburg

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