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Jenkins’ must promote rape counselling

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Father Jenkins claims to support the goal of preventing sexual assault. However, he apparently does not support the goal of providing post-assault counseling services for victims of sexual violence. He apparently also does not support the goal of providing safe shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. If he did, he would not forbid “Loyal Daughters” and similar plays (such as “The Vagina Monologues”) from selling tickets or engaging in other fundraising to support S.O.S. of Madison Center, the only rape crisis center serving the South Bend metro area, or the YWCA of St. Joseph County, a Christian organization providing shelter for abused women and children.

As a rape survivor, I am grateful to see Catholic leaders like Jenkins supporting sexual assault prevention. However, Jenkins and other leaders must not forget that counseling and aftercare are every bit as essential as prevention. Rape is a crime that doesn’t end with the act of sex; it can continue for years as the victim’s life is literally taken over by fear, regret, self-loathing and pain. Rape crisis centers like S.O.S. help to prevent this continuing violence. Father Jenkins, I implore you to put your words into action. If you really care about helping victims of sexual violence, support the organizations that provide for the needs of victims in our community. Perhaps if someone from the Catholic Church had been there for me when I was 15, alone, in pain and afraid, I would still be a member of the Church today.

Jessica Tannenbaum


Class of 2006

Nov. 13