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Letter: We can't push myths of stranger rape

4:52 PM, Mar. 19, 2013  |  Comments
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I write in response to B.C. Kowalski's article on the attempted female abduction case in Stevens Point. Although the article topic is important for the community to be aware of, more importantly, the public should be informed about the reality of sexual assault and violence against women in Wisconsin. Too often our newspapers and media portray the inaccuracy of crime and violence in our society because the stories attract more attention.

The Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance reported that in 2010 almost 90 percent of all sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim knew. The myth that women are raped and assaulted in dark alleys by strangers is simply inaccurate. The majority of these crimes against women occur by individuals known to the victim. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that one in five women will be raped in their lifetime and one in four women have been victims of severe physical violence by their intimate partner. These statistics are likely much higher as the majority of violence within intimate relationships goes unreported.

These are the facts and stories that need to be written about in our local media outlets so that we may begin the conversation with our youth about the reality of violence in our society. Articles such as Kowalski's teach our youth the myths engrained in our culture. The facts in Wisconsin are the majority of assaults committed against women are perpetrated by people they know. The discomfort reality brings about the prevalence of violence against women in our hometowns only adds to the problem. They say knowledge is power, and the more our community is informed, the greater our awareness will be to prevent future crimes and educate our children.

Maria Polyak

Plover

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