Silencing the Silenced

by Nathalie on September 2, 2017 - 3:42pm

As if sexual assault victims weren’t silenced enough, the White House has reportedly removed their sexual assault reports “published in 2014 under the Obama administration” from the White House’s website. However, “the report can still be accessed on the Obama administration's archived website.” In an article published in the Huffington Post on Aug. 30, 2017, “White House Quietly Removes Sexual Report from Website”, Alanna Vagianos reports on the questionable decision of the Trump administration.

Alexandra Brodsky was the first to notice the disappearance of the report. As “a civil rights attorney and co-founder of anti-sexual violence organization KnowYourIX”, she often refers to the report in her line of work. However, whilst searching for the “Rape and Sexual Assault: Renewed Call to Action” report on Aug. 30 2017, Brodsky was shocked to find it was no longer there. As she searched deeper, she realised it was anywhere to be found on the White House website. “The report consists mainly of nonpartisan facts about sexual violence including sexual assault statistics and different ways the criminal justice system and college campuses can improve in combatting sexual and gender violence.”

And although this webpage is not the only one that has been removed from the site, including the LGBTQ+ and climate change pages, and it isn’t uncommon for there to be changes in the website’s content during the transition of presidential administrations as Brodsky says, “This is a report of facts and research. This is a summary of really important and, in some cases, government-funded work that was done to understand the causes and effects of sexual and gender violence. What does it mean that the Trump administration doesn’t want the public to have that information?”

As Barack Obama said in 2012 in the report, “It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are not left to face these trials alone. Too often, survivors suffer in silence, fearing retribution, lack of support, or that the criminal justice system will fail to bring the perpetrator to justice. We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors.” By removing the report from the White House website, the Donald Trump administration is doing the exact opposite by showing no support for sexual assault victims.

The Huffington Post is an internet news and opinion website and as most things on the internet, “it is only as credible as its writers, and each article is only as credible as its author” hence why I focused my attention on the writer of this post: Alanna Vagianos. After some research about Vagianos and verifying that all the information in her article was indeed accurate, I believe that this source is reliable.

Comments

I want to start off by stating that I completely agree with your position that sexual assault victims need to be encouraged to speak up against their aggressors, and it is very important that our government is part of that support. However, I do not agree with the fact that the removal of the sexual assault reports means that the Trump government does not support sexual assault victims. In fact, as your article states, it is not unusual that some reports are removed during the transition between administrations. Also, according to Media Bias/Fact Check The Huffington Post is strongly biased towards liberal, that is left-wing bias, and Trump is part of the Republican Party which is generally considered right-wing. This makes me question the reliability of your source.

Hello Nathalie,
I'd like to start by saying that your post is very well-written and goes straight to the point. I found an organization that might interest you. Women Aware is an organisation that provides long-term support to victims of domestic violence. It was created in 1995 by a small group of women who themselves were survivors of domestic violence. Their major project is to do a lot of conference and fund raising for this cause. You can volunteer by going to their conference and participate in their actions like “16 Days of Activism”, which consist of 16 days of actions to end violence against women and girls. You can send them an email by going on their website; https://www.womenaware.ca, call them; 514-908-9014 or send them a letter through their box mail. For more information, go on their website.

About the author

Hi! I'm Nathalie. I'm a 17 year old cegep student at Champlain. I can speak English and French fluently and I dabble in some Spanish. I participated in a public speaking and a poetry contest. I did synchronized swimming for 3 years and competitive swimming for 8 years. I danced for 12 years.