Sexual assault is one of the most physically and emotionally shattering of crimes. The horror of sexual violence is so terrifying, painful and humiliating as to defy description. A victim of sexual assault, whether it was a day ago or a decade ago, can feel that it's impossible to communicate the experience to anybody who hasn't been subjected to it.
Now there's help, thanks to a Survivor's Support Group program at the Sexual Assault Support Center. Whatever aftershocks and post-traumatic suffering the victims of sexual assault have to endure, they don't have to endure it alone. And with the addition of a licensed therapist to the program, the sometimes long process of healing can be more effective.
"It doesn't matter when the assault occurred," Center Director Kyle Blair told L-E staff writer Tiffany Stevens. "They could have been assaulted as children. It could have been in the past year. It doesn't matter."
It's a no-pressure program: People can come for a session or two, and if the experience is still too painful to talk about, they can come back later.
This support program is designed to be informative as well as cathartic. Therapist Rachel Snipes said healthy ways to cope with memories of the experience and the need to recover from it are important parts of the healing process: "A lot of times we have coping skills," she said, "but they're not always healthy, they're not always positive. But when you don't know, you do what you know works to get by."
Another part of that education process, she added, involves replacing useless myths about sexual assault with information "more factual than what they may have gotten on the street or even from well-intended people."
We all wish programs like this weren't necessary. Because they are, it's good to know this one is available. Call (706) 221-1033 or (706) 571-6010.
Willard tries again
Georgia Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, has tried before to get Georgia's constitutionally abusive "civil forfeiture" law scrapped or amended, to no avail.
He's back this session to try again, and more power to him. If ever a law needed radical reconstruction, it's this one.
"Civil forfeiture," as has been described here before, is a legal oxymoron: There's nothing remotely civil about forcing people to forfeit money and property as the fruits of "suspected" crime, often on the unsubstantiated whim of police. Even people who are not convicted of, or even charged with, any crime have been forced to hand over money and goods. The process is more than just ripe for abuse - it's an incentive for abuse.
Civil forfeiture is a gross affront to the most fundamental constitutional principles, and does nothing to make us safer from crime. What most needs to be forfeited this session is this atrocious law.