EC won't stop rape report

In your article about emergency contraception [March 17: "Panic button: Finding the 'morning after' pill"], Marnie Deaton of the Central Virginia Family Forum states that easy access to these pills "will cause rapes and date rapes to go unreported."

I am curious about where she got this information. (Her differentiation between "rape" and "date rape" as two different things is a great indicator of her lack of knowledge– if someone is killed following a date, we don't call it "date murder.")

Working at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) in Charlottesville, I have spoken with a great many survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, and I have never heard anyone cite the availability of emergency contraception as a deterrent to reporting a rape. Nor have I heard this anecdotally from other SARA staff members or from the community volunteers who answer SARA's 24-hour hotline (977-7273).

Deaton implies that emergency contraception discourages reporting of rapes and that, therefore, "the rapist will remain free, and victims will lose the healing and empowering experience of fighting for justice and their own safety."

This statement implies quite inaccurately a survivor's report of a sexual assault results in the incarceration of the perpetrator. Unfortunately, such legal remedies through the criminal justice system involve often a long and protracted process– with many perpetrators never getting punished.

Furthermore, healing and empowerment are deeply personal experiences unique to each individual. There is no standard course of action that necessarily leads to them.

I am disgusted that Deaton would use the experiences of rape survivors to serve her group's purposes.

Rachel Thielmann
Volunteer Training Coordinator, Sexual Assault Resource Agency