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Recent Sexual Assaults Prompt Emergency Forum

by Katie Pyzyk July 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm 4,096 78 Comments

In response to recent incidents throughout the county, the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women is hosting an emergency community forum on sexual assault.

The forum will be held at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 19.

Speakers include Theo Stamos, Commonwealth Attorney for Arlington County, who will discuss the prosecution of these crimes, as well as Jo Johnson, project coordinator for domestic abuse prevention program Project PEACE. The Arlington County Police Department will also have a Special Victims Unit representative present to speak about recent incidents, provide safety tips and take questions.

Samantha Sewell with the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women said the forum will not only provide safety information, but will examine the services currently available for sexual assault victims. Part of the program will focus on shortcomings in what’s available throughout the community and what improvements can be made.

Sewell stresses that the intent is not to blame victims, or for example, to tell people not to run in certain areas. The goals are to talk about safety and education regarding sexual assaults. Everybody is welcome to attend the forum.

“We don’t want to put this all on women,” Sewell said. “We want to educate the community as a whole, and educate our men as well.”

Organizers say although there’s been concern about the number of sexual assaults for some time, the emergency forum was initiated specifically in response to recent incidents, such as the rape on Four Mile Run trail, and a sexual assault in the Ballston Public Parking Garage.

  • novasteve

    Will the county start a commission on the status of men too?I mean you could at least discuss sexual attacks by males. I realize it is politically correct to make generalizations about men, so I’m not afraid to state it. Of course any other group, make a generalization, then it’s thought crime, and gulag time.

    • You know there is a whole group of guys with like minded thinking all in this community right http://www.reddit.com/r/mensrights here.

      I think extreme feminism is to blame imho

    • jackson

      Instead of whining about feeling marginalized as a white male, why don’t you go patrol the trails?

    • This is why we can’t have nice things. Whiny ACs (think Michael Bolton in Office Space) that make everything political.
      Unless you were being sarcastic, then you need to put an asterisk or something after your rabble.

    • wow

      — a whole new level of aholery achieved. Hopefully you aren’t being serious. The rash of sexual crimes aimed at women (and children) deserves careful attention. As rates of sexual assaults on men go up, I’ll support something similar for addressing those too. Sorry this one doesn’t rotate around you personally but perhaps you should think of that as a good thing.

  • SomeGuy

    Did anyone at the county offices ask the Arlington Commission on the Status of Men to weigh in on this?

    • novasteve

      Men aren’t a liberal darling group, so no such commission exists. Perhaps if it were limited to racial minority men, then it could exist, religious minorities or homosexual men, it might be permissible.

      • drax

        You can start a committee for men any time you want, steve. There’s already groups like that out there. Feel free to join one.

    • b

      yeah… seriously “Committee on the Status of Women” ????

      • Undereducated

        Take it up with the County Advisory Committee on the Status of Committees.

      • faintly progressive

        Yeah, cause women still face obstacles as women.

        • novasteve

          So do men. Ever hear about women dying in a mining disaster or women being drafted or dying in wars? That’s pretty much a monopoly men have.

          • jackson

            Um, yeah, women die in wars, dummy.

          • drax

            And there are committees on the status of soldiers, and miners.

            Just like this women’s committee only handles issues mostly specific to women, like rape.

        • SomeGuy

          I don’t understand the relevance of your statement. Doesn’t everyone face obstacles as whatever they are? How else would you recommend one face an obstacle?

      • KalashniKEV

        Daaaa-yum, girl… yo’ status be HOT like FIYA!

        /verbal sexual assault

    • The Mayor of westover

      Maybe when a man gets raped they will 😉

      • b

        yeah, it is nice that men never get assaulted or raped….

        • The Mayor of westover

          On the bike trail-yeah you’re right!

    • drax

      We don’t really need a committee for our status, do we?

      • SomeGuy

        I don’t know who the “we” is that you’re referring to. But your statement might be sexist.

        • drax

          Hmm.

    • Buckingham Bandit

      I mean, it’s only rape.

  • JimPB

    I hope that the Emergency Forum considers how to encourage victims to report sexual assaults by strangers and acquaintances (“date rapes”) to the police, and that the ACPD commits itself to full, vigorous responses and transparency and accountability for investigations. A recent case in DC points up the likely opportunity for ACPD to do better, too — and for the need for and benefits of transparency and accountability for its investigations.

    DCMP 3rd District Cmdr. George Kucik said about the afternoon bicyclist sexual assault of Liz Gorman in her DuPont Circle neighborhood: ” We’re not taking this lightly.” But that doesn’t mean the DCMP are actively pursuing the case. WPost columnist Ms Dvorak also reports: “…(t)here are leads that can be followed. The manager at the Carlyle Hotel, where security cameras may have caught the attack on the sidewalk, said police haven’t asked him for any footage yet.”

    Would be great if every sexual assault got this attention, and women, citizens generally and policy makers, especially those with authority over the police, held the police accountable for rapid and full investigations.

    • b

      some good pts… liz gorman stepped up big in writing about her incident.

      somehow not at all surprised about the DC police and their lack of interest beyond strong statements to the media. Few weeks ago, saw someone mugged and pointed out the guys who did it to the cops, they were watching from an alleyway about a block away… and the cops literally did nothing except yell at me to let them do their job… which apparently involves putting up tape and texting, but not actually giving a s—.

  • New Canaan

    Yeah, because just talking about it always makes a big difference. This “emergency” session has little value unless it’s combined with self-defense classes and/ or information about how to obtain a conceal and carry permit. It would take one or two highly publicized retaliatory incidents to curb this problem.

    Libs and anti-gun advocates in 5…4…3…2…1…

    • carry

      getting a conceal and carry permit isn’t that hard, they list the steps online, and you basically have to wait the full 45 days to get it. In the meantime, you can open carry from day 1!

      http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ClerkofCircuitCourt/CivilCourt/page64985.aspx

    • b

      again….. the idea that having a concealed firearm would have made a positive difference in the recent cases is just stupid.

      both the 4mr and ballston victims were physically surprised by the attacker(s) and trying to attempt to draw a weapon at that point is really 50/50, perhaps even less favorable to the victim if they’re significantly smaller, meaning there’s a decent chance they end having the weapon used against them.

      • drax

        Openly carrying a firearm can prevent attacks in the first place, by providing a visual disincentive.

      • bman

        not if you fire all the rounds

  • gymmyray

    Maybe they need a forum on empathy for your fellow man following the despicable way Arlingtonians ignored a dying man in the street!

    So much for “The Arlington Way.”

    • drax

      You should post your complaint under that story, and read the other comments.

  • yea

    step 1: go buy a handgun. Coincidentally, the gun show is coming to dulles next weekend!

    • SomeGuy

      There’s also one at the Ballston Gold’s pretty much every evening from 5pm to 8pm.

      • yea

        #sunsoutgunsout

  • novasteve

    Should we take this time to thank that particular neighborhood here in Arlington from banning gun safety training in their clubhouse. That will make the community a lot safer for women :rolleyes:

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    Its simple: get cops out of cars and on the streets- on foot and on bikes throughout the county. If the county is going to encourage growth as they have, they had better be ready to encourage the hiring of a great number more trained and competent police officers as well. The victims of all crimes would benefit more from this action than a forum to state the obvious.

    As a PS- a concealed carry permit requires proficiency with a firearm based on certified training classes. That rules out most people.

    • KalashniKEV

      Exactly… information session, classes, pamphlets… what about RESPONSE? It’s time to clean up this town. Everyone knows “What needs to happen…”

      • drax

        This is why you aren’t in charge of anything.

        • KalashniKEV

          …and the lack of any meaningful response is why these crimes exist and multiply in our community.

          Culture change is needed within ACPD. It starts at the top.

    • JimPB

      G::TheNativeArlingtonian:

      What’s the evaluation data for reducing crime rates from getting “cops out of cars and on the streets – on foot and on bikes through the county”?

      Any evaluation data on hiring “a great number more trained and competent police officers”?

      • Buckwheat

        Look at DC cops per capita. Not working for them, although Kathy Lanier is an incredible Chief!

    • CW

      Please ignore the market research trolls who won’t believe that the sky is blue unless you’ve done several double-blind, randomly-sampled focus whatevers. I think that common sense will dictate that getting some cops into the streets is a good idea.

      • Buckingham Bandit

        “Common sense” is a logical fallacy which rhetorically implies that there is low-hanging obvious knowledge that we should just agree upon.

      • drax

        Common sense says the Earth is flat too.

  • feh

    will “nancy stitz,” the woman with the world’s largest breasts, be there? arlnow hyped her yesterday, the least she can do to return the favor is support the community!

    • Cyrus

      I assume you mean Norma

      • ghlo

        ha yes!

  • always right

    Ladys, get a gun!

  • newtonova

    As a victim of sexual assault myself, change wont happen until we educate men about date/partner/aquaintance rape and domestic violence.

  • JimPB

    Wonder what the women have to say?

    • SoArl

      I can’t speak for all but I personally think two incidents does not make a crisis. And, I have to say that I kind of chuckled at the response of this woman’s commission was to talk about it. (i.e. talk about their feelings)

      • Sam

        There have been far more than two incidents. we are looking at about 2 to 3 a month and that is just the reported rapes. this event will not be us talking about our feelings. We will have someone from the human services side speak, a police officer, and a prosecutor. They will inform us of 1) the scope of the problem 2) the current county response 3) where the county can improve in their response and 4) what the community can do to lead the county in the right direction in making improvements to the current system of response.

  • Elmer

    Some of the sorry attitude evidenced by younger men (harassment, assault, sexually degrading remarks, violence), toward women can be attributed to the perverse hip-hop/rap and other “music” so popular among the younger set. Its lyrics that debase women, using terms like “hoe”, even glorify potential date rape. Then there’s the music videos which have degenerated into soft porn.
    As I mentioned in a previous post, Tipper Gore was ahead of the curve on this one and that’s coming from someone who is not a Dem.
    May be the Commission On Women might want tackle this as an issue?

  • W

    At the same time we need to be very careful about pulling the Arlington County Police Department and especially Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos into this. Neither authority answers to any higher power as their actions remained unchecked by their ability to dismiss all public inquiries on police reports. Fear-mongering rape increases the chance that minor incidents are over-reported and allow Arlington to ruin lives.

    How many males falsely are accused of crimes and over-prosecuted in the name of women’s justice? If a man and a woman get in a fight and the woman is dumb enough to talk, guess whose fault the entire thing becomes? Do you think the county ever does due diligence to collect evidence that might contradict a victim’s claims? Did you know most “victims” can’t back down even if they can prove they’re not being manipulated financially, romantically, etc., etc.

    Do you think ACPD ever collects evidence that could ruin their case? Even if the courts are supposed to sort things out, don’t trust Virginia. In the Commonwealth, defense attorneys don’t even get to see any evidence until it’s provided as evidence in the courtroom. No discovery. No FOIA for police files. Since we have only minor crime, let’s throw the men in jail!!

    • drax

      You ask alot of questions, but you don’t provide any evidence.

      • Jason B

        While in Arlington County Public Schools, my son was sent to the principal’s office twice for a physical offense with a girl. In both cases the girl (built like a linebacker) started or caused the physical commotion, but my son was the one punished and not the girl.

        On the second case I decided I needed to fight back. A girl took my son’s crackers during lunch and refused to give them back. She was passing the cracker package back and forth under the lunch table with another girl and laughing at my son. When the two minute warning whistle was blown, my son kicked her in frustration.

        All hell broke loose. She cried and my son was taken to the front office and lectured. He had to stay there all day and was threatened with suspension. I was called by the assistant principal and was told what serious trouble he was in, and they have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.

        When I got home my son refused to tell me what happened. Finally at bedtime he opened up and told me about her taking his crackers and not giving them back. I asked if he told this to the teachers or the vice principal, and he said “no.” I asked him why, and he said they were too busy being mean to him, and they never asked him what had happened.

        The next morning a childhood dream came true. I got the opportunity to tell off an assistant vice principal. I concluded my conversation with “the unequivocal message you sent to everyone at that table was ‘stealing is acceptable, but kicking is not.’ Is that the lesson you intended to teach?” (I rehearsed half the night). From an early age female are taught to manipulate, and the males fall into their traps all the time.

  • ArlForest

    I hope the county has hired renown criminal justice expert CW to moderate this event.

  • just visiting

    What an accurate reflection of the ArlNow commentariat these responses are.

    On an article about the response to numerous sexual assaults on women, they are:

    1) all snide

    2) all from men

    • larry

      Now you’re asking for it…

      For the record, totally inaccurate characterization.

      • SoArl

        My comment was snide but I am female.

        • just visiting

          Right. Pic? Otherwise, no reason to believe you.

          A lot of very unhappy lonely men rule this comment board.

          • larry

            yeah… pic or gtfo. (joke!)

          • SoArl

            Why would I lie about being a girl? Wow.

          • jackson

            Why complain that a few sexual assaults don’t qualify as a crisis, regardless of whether you’re male or female?

          • SoArl

            I believe that I was replying to a commenter who asked what the women thought of this. I gave my opinion. In the future, I will make sure to run any thoughts I have by you first before I post.

          • jackson

            You’re welcome to give your opinion. I’m asking how many rapes would be a crisis to you? One a week?

          • SoArl

            Why are you so angry? I just don’t think that the actions of two freaks who will hopefully get caught soon means that there is some sort of countywide crisis. Regardless, I would rather this group provide self defense classes or something. More concrete action – less talking. But, I don’t think I’m necessarily the target demographic for this group. You know, since I’m apparently not a girl.

          • jackson

            I’m not so much angry as annoyed at the mentality around this board. Who cares what kind of goofy name they give a group? It results in the same responses every time. “When will there be a men’s group? What about white history month?” It’s so tired I can’t even believe the people making those comments believe them.

            Also, rape is a hideous crime I can’t joke about. Any kind of sexual assault (to women or kids) and I start seeing things from Kev’s perspective. (And I don’t mean to imply you were making a joke about it. I’m not singling you out or picking on you. Sorry if it comes across that way.)

      • caitlyn

        Asking for it?

        I suppose you also think rape victims were asking for it?

    • drax

      How sexist of you to assume all the comments are from men.

  • Maggie

    I am astounded by the ignorance reflected in these comments.

  • AJ

    for the love of mike. when American society stops benefitting primarily white men, we can have a discussion about the need for a commission on the status of men. until then, it’s all deflection and male whining about the eventual loss of their privilege.

    the vast majority of sexual assaults on women are perpetrated by men. it’s nice that Arlington doesn’t want to “put this all on women,” but men should be the primary targets of sexual assault prevention efforts – not an add-on.

  • YTK

    singapore used to castrate its rapists. makes sense.

  • Arlington cat

    Since this public safety event is being held at the Fairlington Community Center, perhaps the Fairlington Social Club can have a Meet-Up at the forum.

  • Arlington cat
  • Fairlington Social Club member

    Will there be chicks there?

  • JnA

    If you make neighborhoods into party zones, people will party. If you assign police to the party zones and parties, aka street festivals, instead of patrolling the entire county what do you think will happen?

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