The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letters to Editor

Fathers, talk to your sons and daughters about sexual assault

Dear Editor,

I began working at WIRC-CAA Victim Services about a year ago. In that time, I have learned a lot about sexual assault and the issues surrounding it, but probably the most important thing I have learned is how crucial it is for men to have an active role in the elimination of violence against women. Sexual assault is one of the most horrific crimes in our society:it is one person exercising their power and domination over another. Many people say that rape is not about sex, but it is. It's about using sex as a weapon to humiliate and degrade another person. Men commit almost 90% of all sexual assault. So this is an appeal for men to come forward and talk about sexual assault.

So why should men care? One common misconception is that if a man doesn't commit rape or isn't the victim of rape, then it doesn't affect him.

One of the most commonly cited statistics is that one in four women will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime.

All of us have women in our lives that we care about: mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, wives, girlfriends, or women who we simply share a friendship with.

If there are four women in your life, there is a good chance that one of them will be or has been a victim of rape. The majority of these women are assaulted before they reach the age of 25.

We know that men are also the victims of sexual assault.

Approximately one in six men will be victimized in their lifetime, most before the age of 12.

One of the primary reasons that most young boys and men don't come forward after being assaulted is the pervasive homophobia in our society.

This homophobia is used as a weapon by perpetrators to keep their victims silent.

The fear of being labeled "gay" in our culture keeps many men from coming forward and disclosing their abuse as adults.

The one place where men can have the biggest impact is in their own home. Take the time to talk with your sons about sexual assault.

Many young men would be well served to hear from their fathers what sexual assault is and how they can prevent it.

So many people do not realize that some behaviors constitute sexual assault, such as, taking advantage of someone when they are drunk, coercing an individual into sex even though they do not want it, and blackmailing a woman into having sex are all forms of sexual assault.

Hearing these things from his father can have a significant impact on a young man's life.

Men have so much power in society. It is time for us to stand up and use that power in a positive way.

Sexual assault cannot be stopped without the commitment of men. Fathers, talk to your sons and daughters about sexual assault and make a commitment to end rape.

Josh Mercer

WIRC-CAA Victim Services Prevention Educator

Dear Editor:

With a new political season quickly approaching, candidates will soon be patting themselves on the back and offering great promises for the future.

What no candidate will mention is what promises they have failed to keep.

What promise is that, you ask. It is the promise to take care of the very frail and sick elderly population that resides in our nursing homes.

Somehow, the needs of the aging population have somehow slipped between the political cracks.

New formulas for increased funding have seen one delay after another.

Our politicians continue to fund their special projects, they receive their benefits and their salaries on time, while spending less and less time in Springfield.

Unfortunately, what they do not provide is even minimum funding for our nursing home residents. What we have seen in the past 3 years instead are:

1. Increased demands to provide more care for our residents.

2. More care has demanded an increase in staffing.

3. A 5.9% decrease in our state aid rates (has been partially restored) that allows us to fall further and further behind financially.

4. In 2005, the average daily cost of nursing home care in Illinois was $126.50, the average Medicaid reimbursement rate's state wide average is $98.25. Our rate at Oak Lane Nursing and Rehab is $92.41, covering only 73% of our cost.

5. The payment period on neighboring states is 30 days. In the State of Illinois our payment period lags behind by 5 months and it might possibly be two more months before a check arrives.

How long can we exist without prompt payments, with promises of new formulas that never get 100% funded. Well, how long could your personal budget last if your revenue only covered 73% of your cost of expenses.

Please express your concern and contact our senators and representatives and request adequate and on-time funding for our nursing homes.

Or click to the online advocacy feature of and support adequate and prompt funding for our most vulnerable population.

Make our tomorrow better by doing what you can today to ensure our politicians fulfill their obligation to our elderly.

Richard W. Clifton,
Oak Lane Nursing and Rehab