The news for women and children in Chester County has not been stellar over the last several weeks.

Two murders directly related to domestic violence call upon us to raise awareness of this human rights violation.  One mother shot at the Brandywine YMCA and one 3 year-old boy enduring a private torture are but two examples illustrating the complexity and heinousness of this devastating problem.  No one is safe from domestic violence.  1 in 4 people, regardless of race, creed or socio-economic class, will be touched by domestic violence in their lifetime.  This is a staggering thought and one that can only bring sadness and alarm to our hearts.
As if this news wasn’t bad enough we awoke to a news story earlier this week concerning Lincoln University’s President Robert Jennings insinuating that women are partially responsible for being raped.  This is simply unacceptable. Consent is required for sexual intercourse; it is that simple.  Rapes and sexual assaults on college campuses are a reality and a situation that needs to be stopped.

A study completed by the Women’s Law Center last year reveals some hair-raising facts:
•    20% of young women and 6% of young men will experience a completed or attempted rape during their college career.
•    Young women in their first 2 years of college are at the highest risk of sexual assault.
•    Fear of retaliation, self-blame, lack of confidence that something will be done, and lack of understanding that what was done to them is a report-able problem are some of the many reasons victims do not report sexual harassment or assault.
•    Female college students usually know the person who sexually assaulted them.
•    Due to sexual victimization in college, many promising students are unable to complete their education and achieve their goals.
•    Sexual harassment and/or assault experienced in college can cause physical, emotional and educational consequences that may be life-long.

The community’s response to women’s issues reflects its overall health.  Only by educating ourselves with regard to these issues can we hope to stop them.  It is a way to make Chester County better for each and every one of us, not only for our present but for our future.


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