On Jan. 19, a local newscast reported the attempted sexual assault of a woman in downtown San Luis Obispo and made reference to another victim assaulted on the Cal Poly campus. The conclusion of the report was “the victims were unharmed.”
Do sexual assault victims need to be lying in an emergency room bleeding to be termed harmed on this newscast? Surely, informed commentators have come to understand that the emotional and psychological consequences of sexual assault are the terrible legacy of that event.
Pat Conroy described these sequelae best in his novel “The Prince of Tides”: “Rape is a crime against sleep and memory; its after-image imprints itself like an irreversible negative from the camera obscura of dreams. Throughout our lives, these men would teach us over and over of the abidingness, the terrible constancy that accompanies a wound to the spirit. Though our bodies would heal, our souls had sustained a damage beyond compensation. Violence sends deep roots into the heart; it has no seasons; it is always ripe, evergreen.”
In future, when you report these crimes, do so with more knowledge, understanding and sensitivity.