What do Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and a Maryland Football Locker Room have in common? Sexual Assault.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. In the age of the #MeToo movement, many powerful people have been accused of sexual assault in the last year. Politicians, Actors, Comedians, and other public figures have resigned, quit, or been fired due to accusations of sexual assault. Schools around the country are figuring out how to deal with sexual assaults that occur on their campuses. Recently, in the fall of 2018, Damascus High School in Maryland had to handle one such incident. JV sophomore football players held down multiple other freshman football players and attempted to sexually assault the players with a broomstick. While school officials did jump right into action, they did not call authorities until after they had interviewed a number of football players, victims and accused assailants. In this era of sexual assault awareness, it is difficult for some institutions to know how to properly handle these cases. It is also difficult for families of sexual assault victims to know how to handle these incidents. Even more importantly, it is difficult for sexual assault victims themselves to know what to do or who to turn to for help. In Ohio, multiple cities and facilities are working towards being a beacon of hope for sexual assault victims. Cincinnati’s facility, Women Helping Women, recently started a new program to give on-site help to domestic violence victims. Also, “It’s On Us, Cincinnati” works with local campuses to help prevention and response programs. Also, legislatures in the State are working on bills that would eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assaults and a bill that would give greater privacy and control to victims. In our own small town, the Warren County Abuse Rape and Crisis Shelter (ARCS) works extensively with sexual assault victims. Much work needs to be done, but it is good that so much work is already being done to address sexual assault issues in our State. In Family Law, we try to make sure our clients have the tools and resources they need to properly handle these situations. We are glad that our local community and State has resources that we can lead our clients to.