WTVM Editorial 11/15/17: Report sexual abuse

(WTVM) - There are no easy answers or quick solutions to the tsunami wave of sexual assault charges being constantly leveled at powerful men in entertainment, business, and politics.

There might be one pro-active step the truly abused can take, but I admit it is not going to be easy.

With everything we know now, it seems the pattern is always the same. Many years or even decades pass before the alleged attack might come to light.

One approach to protecting and even enhancing credibility after such abuse is to document it however you can. Tell a teacher, a friend, parent or pastor. Even tell a lawyer, anyone you can trust, as soon as it happens, even if you don't want to tell the police.

Write down the details as soon as you can, with dates, times and places. Even if you chose not to disclose the abuse at that time, it becomes impossible to reconstruct the details years later when memories fade and when you need the details the most.

So many of the recent cases involve women who did report abuse, to organizations or companies, but the women claim they were brushed aside, told to keep quiet or simply ignored.

Never settle for being shut down. If a manager won't do something or encourages silence, go higher to report the assault, all the way to the top if necessary.

There is no good that can come out of these endless allegations of abuse except for maybe one thing: hearing about it raises awareness.

With awareness should come more willingness to listen to the abused and try to get them the right kind of help - including legal help.

It's not a solution but it might be a start.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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