Issues too big for one answer

This post is a downer, so feel free to skip it.

As the domestic violence/sexual assault advocate for a small, tribal agency, I get together with other workers in the same fields.  We talk about what is happening, and share ideas for helping others.  Most of us really care about helping people, even the court personnel and law enforcement types I talk with.  (Yes, even the latter . . . they are not all in it for the chance to drive fast and use weapons.)  Recently we became concerned about the local district attorney’s office declining to prosecute cases for what seemed like discriminatory and unfair reasons.  While looking deeper at the issues behind his actions, we started looking at numbers.

About 2,000 cases (of all kinds) per year are submitted to our local district attorney.  There are three people in his office to handle all those cases, and that is counting the DA himself.  Even the quite-possibly-inept prosecutor on loan from the Attorney General’s office doesn’t take up much of the slack.   We have two judges and two courtrooms.  There is no way they can handle all those cases, so they are looking for ways to plea bargain or not prosecute.  They are most apt to go ahead with cases that won’t take much time, or where the perpetrator is very dangerous. 

That’s where it hurts.  To the woman who just got beat within an inch of her life, her perp is very dangerous.  To the girl who just got raped by some jerk, and is afraid he will come back for more, and lives in fear  —  her perp is very dangerous.  But if the case may not be “winnable,” it may not go forward.

Here we are helping people understand that domestic violence and sexual assault are not acceptable, and the court system is ignoring these cases because of economics.  How do we expect to stop this violence, if there are no teeth in the laws?

Admittedly, prevention would be the best option.  Raise children who understand that respect and consideration are the way to act, and that we don’t assault people.  Both of these crimes are about power and control, so we need to raise children who believe they have some power and control in their lives.  Children who have been respected and loved.  This is not a quick fix, and is going to take a lot of work on everyone’s part . . . even those who are not parents. 

Meanwhile, what do we do about the wounded, sick souls who commit these assaults?  Must admit, listening to the stories of survivors over the years has hardened me.  Since many of the perps are serial abusers, I find myself thinking the world would be better off without them.  We would certainly have less of a population problem. 

Sigh . . .


About judithornot

Lives in semi-rural Northern California, happily married, retired counselor, night person, knits, plays WoW.
This entry was posted in Random thoughts, social issues and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Issues too big for one answer

  1. It’s tough. I am a domestic/sexual abuse survivor and sometimes i think that if those people never existed the ones who have been afftected by them would not have ever been hurt, in my case if they weren’t here, i wouldn’t be either. I look at it in this way, I am stronger and I have the power to change the future because of it. I want to help those who have been victimized and show them that not all bad comes from these expieriences. Our fate lies in our hands. All we have to do is want the change and if we want it bad enough we will do something about it.


  2. judithornot says:

    Thanks for your response, Sonja. Some of the strongest people I know are those who have faced domestic violence and/or sexual assault, and been determined to go on. It’s like the saying, the best revenge is success. I’ve also met some who remained victims the rest of their lives. As you wrote, it’s not easy. I’m glad you are moving forward in strength.


  3. kiwiyarns says:

    An ugly topic, but a very real one, and it’s fantastic of you to talk about it. I strongly feel that we as a society have much to blame – the victim and perpetrator are not the only ones involved. What of those around them who know? Why don’t We publicly frown more at those who do wrong? Why do We not fearlessly stand up to them and support the innocent? From personal experience, I have seen too many people shy away from confrontation, from public disapproval. And I don’t understand why not.


  4. judithornot says:

    I agree, Wei Siew. Sometimes people are afraid for their own safety if they say anything, and I can respect that. But most of the perps are basically wimps — that’s why they pick on others, to make themselves feel more powerful. The thing is, if a person doesn’t feel safe speaking up directly, they can call law enforcement. Of course, in some rural areas the response may be slow. And not all cultures have a good interaction with law enforcement. Once upon a time it was the public disapproval that kept people from commiting violence. There are no simple answers to this issue. I have made the decision to speak out, and I encourage others to do the same.


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