Don’t forget incarcerated women when talking about sexual assault

  • Lovisa Stannow
  • October 25, 2017
  • Los Angeles Times

To the editor: Amy Wakeland, Los Angeles’ first lady, rightly argues that our sexual abuse problem extends far beyond Hollywood. (“Sexual abuse is everywhere in L.A., and it’s behind our most challenging social problems,” Opinion, Oct. 23)

Indeed, one needs to look no further than local detention facilities to grasp the crippling effects of this violence. Jails and police lockups are filled with women who have endured sexual assault.

In communities nationwide, elected officials are investing in programs to support women upon their release from incarceration. This is a positive step. But reentry initiatives must be matched by a similar commitment to helping women while they are locked up. If we deny rape crisis services to incarcerated women — or, worse, do not protect them from abuse — then reentry efforts will be doomed to fail.

The good news is that Wakeland and Mayor Eric Garcetti have embraced their duty to help all survivors of sexual violence, affirming that no matter what crime a person may have committed, rape is not part of the penalty.

Originally posted here