From Tracie: Why Are We Still Talking About Sexual Assault Awareness?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Why Are We Still Talking About Sexual Assault Awareness?

Another April, another month of talking about sexual assault and child abuse awareness and prevention. Why are we still doing this in 2012? Why isn't this a dead issue?

Rape is wrong, abusing kids is wrong, abusing anyone is wrong - stop doing it! 

Sounds simple enough, right?

Awareness raised, we can all go on with our lives. But it isn't that simple.

I was reminded of that today when I read about a case in Orlando.

Abraheem Firstpage received three years of probation after being found guilty of trespassing and sexual battery on someone physically helpless; despite a state law that calls for a mandatory minimum nine-year prison sentence.

Why did Abraheem walk out into society, a free man, yesterday? From the WESH 2 article:
Retired Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton, who was hired to temporarily fill a vacant position in the Ninth Circuit, cited Firstpage's service in Iraq and ongoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder as reasons for setting him free.

The victim emailed WESH 2 News a written statement, saying, "I feel Judge Eaton blamed me more for being raped than the actions of the rapist found guilty by a jury."
This is why we still have a month each year devoted to sexual assault awareness. This is why we have to continue standing up, and speaking out. Because there are people in 2012 who find it okay to blame the victim, and think some military service cancels out rape.

To Judge Eaton, all I have to say is, "Fuck Iraq. Fuck PTSD. Fuck military service. Those are not valid excuses or explanations for breaking into a woman's house and raping her. You have set a rapist free. If he rapes again, you have enabled that crime."

A Few Related Posts:
Rape Is Not Funny
Rape - It Still Isn't Funny
Rape - It Still Happens (Even In Africa)
A Child Was Raped And No One Told The Police


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
-Get involved in sexual assault awareness and prevention.
-If you have been the victim of sexual assault and need help, or you want to help a loved one, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
-Get involved in child abuse awareness and prevention.
-If you suspect that a child is being abused, or if you are a child or teen who is being abused, you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.


  1. Oh Tracie ... this is so sad. I hope that poor woman has loving people in her life supporting and encouraging her. As for the judge and the rapist ... vengeance is the Lord's ... He WILL repay! I wouldn't want to be in either of their shoes ... especially since the Lord has a soft spot for the those who are not able to protect, defend, and provide for themselves!

    1. I hope she does, as well. I imagine that it must add another level of fear and pain to her that he is free in the same city where she lives, and he could probably find her at any time if so chose.

      Vengeance is the Lord's. Amen.

  2. This basically sanctions rape and negates the PTSD the victim may suffer. Appalling.

    1. That is absolutely what the judge has done.

  3. Thank you Tracie, as always!

    I suffer from PTSD from being repeatedly abused and sexually assaulted. Does that give me license to be an asshole forever and be excused of any crime I feel like committing? Seriously?!

    1. You are welcome, Lauren.

      It really is a slap in the face to every victim of rape or abuse or assault who deals with PTSD in their own lives due to the crimes committed against them.

  4. As the wife of an Iraq veteran, I am very aware of PTSD. Unfortunately, when something horrible happens like this or the events in Afghanistan, it not only creates more victims but it casts a terrible shadow on all soldiers. It is a genuine disorder and many, many men and women suffer from it. It is not, however, a license to murder or rape. I am sorry for this woman. I am sorry for her pain and I am sorry that she did not receive the justice that she deserved.

    1. Exactly! I know many people who have PTSD for various reasons, and not one of them uses it as an excuse to commit a crime.

      I view this as a different situation from the soldier in Afghanistan. What he did was murder, and it was wrong - but I can look at that situation and understand why someone who has PTSD from being in a war could find themselves deployed again, have a flashback, and commit that crime. It doesn't make it okay, it doesn't mean there shouldn't be justice for those families, but there is a connection I can see from his PTSD to his actions. (I could go into a whole conversation here about the amount of deployments, especially with PTSD symptoms present, but I'm pretty sure I would be preaching to the choir)

      This man has PTSD from being in a war, and then breaks into an ex-girlfriend's house and rapes her. There is no connection. Using it as a defense does a disservice to every PTSD victim who is doing the best they can to make it through the day, and work on healing.

  5. My question is what about the rape and abuse victims who have PTSD. I mean hello if itis a logical reason for it, shouldn't we all be doing it as well. I cry bullshit..

    1. Yes yes yes!

      I feel the same way when someone uses the "he was sexually abused during his childhood, that is why he is sexually abusing kids as an adult," excuse. Um, no! Not all abused children grow up to be abusers, and the majority of abusers were not themselves abused.

      I do not understand why people continue to make excuses for rapists and abusers.

  6. Hi Tracie
    Your post hit me today... When I was in LA last week I met with a producer. She asked me what I thought about doing a film project about changing the sexual abuse laws... I told her that since the laws that ARE in place are not being enforced as it is, I don't know if it would do any good to do a program about changing the laws.. I am really frustrated about this whole thing!

    Personally, I think that the biggest changes will come as a result of healing. blogs like ours that carry the message that it is OK to tell and empowering people to know that what happened to them was wrong and not their fault and when enough people heal, the outcry against abuse will be so loud the world will have to take a stand against it. And the abusers will finally realize that they are NOT going to get away with this. Because every time something like this happens (your blog post story) abusers are empowered and victims are disempowered! UGGGG

    Great post Tracie.
    Hugs, Darlene

    1. You are exactly right! Heaping more laws into the books won't do anything if they aren't being followed. It is very discouraging.

      The more we speak, the more we tell the truth, the more we stand strong and don't allow cases like this to go unnoticed, the more power we take back from the rapists and abusers.

      Thank you for the work you do. It is important.

  7. Tracie, I watched your video. Simply tragic but also filled with an incredible amount of love and hope. I then read this article and I am floored. You are giving voice to so many. Thank you and I will use this site as a resource I can suggest to healing victims. God bless you.

    1. Thank you so much, Suzie, for your kind words, your encouragement, and the work you do every day.

      God bless you.

  8. As we enter another April for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month, I too wonder why we are still talking about this. It must be because most of the time we are preaching to the choir, and those we need to teach about the tragedy of rape are not listening. At least, we reach those who need to know they are not alone. Reducing the silence by speaking out will eventually eradicate abuse. Meanwhile, year after year, month after month, those who can will do what they can to challenge society norms that protect perpetrators. Bravo!

    1. There are times when I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. But I will get an email or message from someone saying they haven't been able to tell their story yet, but they are working on it. And I know that all this speaking and sharing is making a difference.

      I hold the hope that we will see the end of abuse one day.

  9. wow. Simply Wow. That judge is an ass.
    but in other news, I'm trying to get this blogging thing again.
    I really am. I miss you and Angel babe!
    Love ya. Hope your Easter was fun!

    1. I miss you too!!! Come back to blogland all the time.