'On behalf of the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC) as well as survivors of rape and sexual assault, I am disappointed to learn that the private details of a victim - including the relationship to the perpetrator, children's ages and detailed accounts of the sexual assault process- were published by the V.I. Consortium this week.
Like a coffin that is opened for a viewing, the breach of privacy and lens of criticism that this story has entertained will leave the victim and their family exposed to a culture of rape that is unapologetic with condemnation, blame and misunderstanding. They will be re-victimized by the removal of trust for the community and now the media - a medium that is to serve as a vessel for truth and accuracy notwithstanding the weight of privacy and safety for victims, particularly those of sex crimes. Unlike a coffin with a deceased soul, however, the victim and their family are still alive. They are alive to hear the comments, see the screenshots and feel the pain that is triggered by betrayal of a media outlet that is entrusted with information for the purpose of educating the public about facts rather than sensationalizing the lives of real people, with real trauma and real issues that need to be supported instead of distracted by poor judgment. The impact of this instantaneous decision to press 'send' will have an everlasting impact on the victim and their family as they must now balance the crime with the feeling of being 'nude' for a figurative public stoning in a community whose response to rape and sexual assault can often be suffocating.