Show empathy, not disdain for victims of sexual abuse

Show empathy, not disdain for victims of sexual abuse

Despite years of victim advocates trying to explain or convey the feelings a victim of abuse may endure, I find one question that continues to linger. My heart breaks when constantly asked, “Why are victims speaking out years later and why are they bringing that up now?”

Although legit, this question can come off a tad insensitive. Thus, I feel it is my duty to address this question on behalf of my experience with speaking to many victims of abuse over the years. How one should handle abuse in any way is far easier said than done. Allow me to elaborate on a few reasons to consider:

Fear. It is easy to insert fear into a child, making them feel they will be harmed if they ever speak out. Many children carry this fear well into adulthood. Every individual will handle this differently and can discuss what has happened when they are ready. In many cases, this can take years to occur and unfortunately in many situations, it never occurs.

Shame. Abuse can be embarrassing, and some people even experience guilt. They hang on to the fear that no one will believe them and of what others might say. Victims are often ashamed to speak on a situation as they may not even be aware yet that they are in fact … a victim. They may feel it is even their fault. There are many reasons a person may or may not choose to share their story.

Please empathize with an individual before judging a person on how he or she chose to handle their situation. The route an individual takes is personal and has to work for his or her own peace of mind.

Delphine Baldwin-Casey, Youngstown

Delphine Baldwin-Casey is victim assistance coordinator for the Youngstown Catholic Diocese and is a retired detective sergeant in the Youngstown Police Department.

Campbell leader responds to criticism on water issue

This is in response to the letter to the editor by Amara Vogt published in The Vindicator in August. The letter was critical of my stance on Campbell’s ongoing water crisis. In her letter, Ms. Vogt pointed out many reasons why it is preferable to keep the water system under community control, and the negative possibilities of turning it over to the private sector.

She may be surprised to know that I share all of her concerns and more. I have spent the last seven years trying to work through these concerns, as we work to solve our deepening water problems.

As America’s infrastructure continues to decay, every municipality in the country will be facing and struggling to solve these types of problems. The city of Campbell water treatment facility is over 58 years old, and our distribution system is well over 100 years old. Every part of the system needs to be updated to efficiency and to meet new safety and health regulations set forth by the EPA.

Twenty-five percent of our treated water is lost in the system due to leaks and metering problems well before it gets to the customer. Our population continues to decline and along with it, our tax base. Until five years ago Campbell spent 13 years in the state-mandated fiscal emergency. We struggled constantly to remain solvent, and we are proud of having done so.

Estimates to repair and update the system to meet efficiency and safety regulations are in the tens of millions of dollars. Rate increases large enough to cover these updates are out of the realm of possibilities. We have conducted searches for any state or federal grants and none are available. There are some loans available, but, we have no means of repaying these loans and it will be fiscally devastating to accept them.

At this time no decision has been made, and we are open to workable ideas. That being said, I am being forced to accept that selling the city of Campbell’s water system is the only solution to a regrettable problem. We have waited long enough and it is time for action. I took the position of selling the water plant a year ago, and to this day I still hold the same stance that selling the water plant is our only viable option.

George Levendis, Campbell

George Levendis is president of Campbell Council.

Miss. ralliers laughed at traumatized victim

I’m not surprised President Donald Trump made fun of a woman who survived a sexual attack as a teenager. What surprises me is the people at the rally in Mississippi who were cheering, clapping and laughing at what he said.

Don’t you have a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter or a girlfriend you love? Would you want people to laugh at her and say she is nothing? That is what you do when you go along with the crowd and cheer at whatever the president says. You don’t have to boo, but can’t you just sit there and do nothing?

I looked at the crowd and saw many women of all ages going along with the crowd and thinking it was great fun at the expense of a woman who was traumatized and has suffered for years. Would you want to be treated that way if it had happened to you?

Any woman who would vote for someone that thinks women are second-class people and they can do whatever they want to her, needs a wake-up call. If women don’t stand together for the right to be treated as equals with the right to say NO to sexual harassment or rape, who will?

There is no party (Democrats or Republicans) in doing the right thing. Think before you vote in November. Is the person someone who will stand up for you or one who will go along with the rest of the old men who haven’t changed in years and have no moral compass?

Darlene Torday, Berlin Center

Mercy closing is folly

The proposed clos- ing, or transfer, of Mercy College is outright folly and total ignorance of its true value in our community.

In fact, the word “College” in its identity does not say enough of the benefits it gives to the students, and the dedication of its staff. A proper title for the school should have been “Mercy University”.

For example, the students there, as in a university, can be found to be eclectic and varied, to bear that title. Entering classes may be composed of mature students with families who want to expand their knowledge of patient care, along with college students who wish to change direction toward patient care. Of course it gives the energetic high school students a proud needed identity.

More than that, above all, our community badly needs this type of milieu. What could be better for a community than educating a segment of students to medical care and the discipline offered by our fine teaching hospital?

Raymond S. Boniface, MD, Youngstown

GOP senators honor party more than Constitution

I wanted to write a long letter about what I thought of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing and testimony, but most of The Vindicator’s editorial and opinion page last Sunday indicated that many readers saw the same things. For instance, allegations are not proofs and believable testimony by a victim with nothing to gain carries greater weight than ranting to gain a seat on the highest court in the land.

It seemed the only way to determine truth was to investigate the specific allegations that had never been topics of earlier background checks by the FBI. Yet it took arm twisting by a senator, whose pending retirement made him immune to the wrath of his party, to force this obvious solution into the closed minds of the Judiciary committee.

What the spectacle of power grabbing by Republican senators during the Kavanaugh hearings teaches us is that elitist politicians hold their grip and the grip of their respective parties on power to be dear above the Constitution, the people, the future of our country and the lives of citizens appearing before them.

A short paraphrase of Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the battle of Lake Erie, sums it up for me: We have met the enemy, and they are politicians.

Jim Cartwright, Canfield