Hi Everyone! Feel free to puruse the archives while you are here, but I hope you will visit me at my new site, Secrets of a Sweet Southern Girl and follow me there. I no longer blog here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Private Practice: Correction

Don't get angry before you start reading. I love Private Practice and I will continue to be a major fan and watch religiously. But the past three episodes have been incorrect in their portrayal of what I consider to be very important facts. Don't misread! I'm very, very glad they addressed this issue! I love them for it! Just keep reading...

I've mentioned that I work with victims of crime. I specifically work with victims of Sexual Assault. The world at large needs to know that federal law now states that victims of sexual assault can go to the hospital and recieve treatment for sexual assault without speaking with Law Enforcement. It's called anonymous reporting and it was a major part of the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2005. Each state was given three years to adapt their laws and get in compliance in order to continue recieveing federal funds attached to the Violence Against Women Act. I cannot speak for every state as to how they are handling this change, and I cannot promise that your hospitals and medical professionals have been fully informed, but you all need to know that this is true. If you become a victim or know someone who is, full medical treatment is available to you without the involvement of Law Enforcement. Contact your local victim service organization for more information. You can find national listings at RAINN.org.

Another thing, if you know a victim that has chosen not to report to law enforcement, please do not make them feel guilty. Simply be supportive and encourage them to get medical attention for themselves. What happened to Charlotte on Private Practice was horrendous and vicious, yes. In real life, would we hope to take that man off the street? Yes. However, it has been shown time and time again that 90% of the time rape is not a violent stranger. It is someone that you trust, someone who is already in your life. Perhaps in a close, intimate way, or perhaps casually. More often than not there are no visible bruises. Most offenders use fear and threat of harm to control their victims. I'm refraining from writing more but, for so many reasons, going through with prosecution can be unbearable for some victims. Seeking justice can be theraputic, but there are times when it is simply too much to ask of someone who has undergone that kind of ordeal. They do not need our blame placed on them for doing the best that they can in a dificult situation. It is never ok to make a victim feel guilty about how they need to deal with what has happened to them.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that victims of sexual assault should not report to law enforcement. I encourage all victims to report and hold the offenders accountable for their actions. I believe that is also an important step for many people when dealing with the trauma of these offenses. I am also saying that I understand that some people just aren't ready, and that is where anonymous reporting comes in. I think that each person deals with trauma differently and, so long as you aren't hurting yourself or someone else, there is no wrong way.

Now, if you are still with me. I love Private Practice. It is one of my favorite shows. I am glad they chose to address such a dificult topic, I am. These are just things that I feel like people need to know.

My e-mail is listed on my profile. You'll notice you can't comment on this post. Normally I love your comments, but because of the content here, if you want to talk about it I'd prefer you e-mail me.