Arkansas Times seeks to measure sexual assault in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Arkansas Times seeks to measure sexual assault in Arkansas

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In Greek mythology, Cassandra, the daughter of the King and Queen of Troy, was tempted by the god Apollo to have sex with him in exchange for a gift — the gift of perfect prophecy. But she rebuffed his advances, and so he punished her: No one would believe what she said, though she spoke the truth.

With the growing revelations of sexual assault of women by movie stars and media moguls, and the national #metoo movement that has allowed women to say they, too, have suffered abuse, the Arkansas Times is seeking to learn what sort of inappropriate behavior Arkansans — of both sexes — have been subjected to, through what we have named The Cassandra Project.

The Cassandra Project will begin with the establishment of an online tool for Arkansans to report, confidentially, instances of sexual aggression, such as suggestive remarks in the workplace, inappropriate touching, forceful touching, attempted rape or rape. We want to know if refusal of advances has cost someone his or her job. The Times hopes to collect tips to both better understand the scope of abuse and to investigate and expose the perpetrators.

Though the survey asks for name and contact information, respondents need not answer those questions.

The survey asks about the details of the incident and whether it happened to the respondent, someone the respondent knew or was something the respondent saw. The survey asks whether the perpetrator was a workplace supervisor, family member, pastor, educator, client or other, and in what setting the incident occurred, such as school or home. The only question the respondent must answer is whether the Times, while withholding the respondent's name or identifying details, can publish the account. Like all news tips the Times receives, we will not publish information about a specific incident without verifying it first.

Our goal is to help others understand the problems people face who experience abuse. It also requests that knowledge of abuse of a minor be reported to the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children hotline.

The online tool also includes a link to the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault's crisis intervention centers. This coalition of individuals and organizations works to eliminate sexual violence and advocates for sexual assault victims' rights and services. ACASA provides cohesion, vision and resources to members while working to change public attitudes and beliefs surrounding sexual violence issues.


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