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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Issue of the Week: Reporting Sexual Assaults

Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week

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The state Office of Justice Assistance (OJA) released news that on the surface seems to be promising: The number of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement has dropped a bit, from 4,650 in 2008 to 4,633 in 2009. But those numbers tell just a small part of a much larger story, because the OJA found that 13,400 female victims sought victim services—from doctors, clergy, counselors or sexual assault programs—during the same period. And only 31% of them reported the assault to police.

It’s easy to understand why sexual assault survivors—especially teens or those who know their offender—would not want to report the assault to police. Each survivor heals in his or her own way, and reliving the experience in the criminal justice system may seem to be too traumatic. That said, it can bring the offender to justice. For those who want to speak to a trained professional, Aurora Health Care’s Sexual Assault Treatment Center of Greater Milwaukee operates a 24-hour hot line at 219-5555, which can connect victims to a range of services and support, including law enforcement.

Heroes of the Week

Best Buddies Wisconsin Volunteers   

Best Buddies Wisconsin is the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization that “creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The group matches volunteers in one of several programs, from middle and high schools to colleges and the professional arena. A June 2 event at the Pfister Hotel paid tribute to the organization’s many volunteers and raised awareness of its programs. Readers who wish to become involved should visit www.bestbuddieswisconsin.org.

Jerk of the Week

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner

Thought Congress could save teachers’ jobs this fall? Despite the best efforts of Congressman Dave Obey, some $23 billion proposed to be sent to the states to preserve teachers’ jobs in the short term—about $400 million would come to Wisconsin—seems unlikely to pass. One roadblock is Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who was quoted as saying it’s “outrageous that we’re borrowing money to put laid-off teachers back on the payroll.” So when your kid winds up in an overcrowded classroom this fall, you’ve got Sensenbrenner to thank.