Our view: Continue the conversation
Today marks the end of Steamboat Pilot & Today’s eight-week series on sexual assault, but we hope the reporting project’s conclusion does not mean the community will stop talking about this important topic.
One of the stated purposes of the “In Our Shoes” series was to shine a light on an issue that has been relegated to the shadows for far too long. And that light was meant to spark a wider community conversation around the topic beyond the printed pages of the newspaper or online.
The series has been both informational and inspirational. The reporting laid out the scope of the problem, including the low percentage of victims who report to police, the lack of prosecution and the unique characteristics of a resort community that contribute to the fact that alcohol- and drug-facilitated sexual assault is the No. 1 way the crime is happening in Steamboat Springs.
Pilot & Today journalists also looked at what happens when a victim reports, how law enforcement interviews victims, how schools and sports teams are working to create a culture that combats sexual abuse and promotes healthy relationships and what resources are available locally to help survivors.
In addition, weekly survivor stories were published, and we think those articles were especially impactful. In these articles, members of our community bravely shared their personal stories of sexual assault. Last week, a mother and a daughter each wrote about the teen’s experience being sexually assaulted by a schoolmate when she was just a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School. They revealed how the single incident changed the young girl’s life and the family’s life forever.
The young woman, who graduated this spring, wrote, “I challenge us (the Steamboat community) to come together and support one another and talk about hard issues. We all live in this beautiful town, and it is easy to get lost in the wildflowers and Champagne powder. However, we need to remember bad things still happen here, and it is OK to talk about them.”
At issue: The Steamboat Pilot & Today’s eight-week “In Our Shoes” series on sexual assault concludes Wednesday, but the conversation needs to continue.
Our View: Support survivors and continue the community conversation about sexual assault by attending Saturday’s “In Our Shoes” event at Library Hall.
- Logan Molen, publisher
- Lisa Schlichtman, editor
- Michael Marchand, community representative
- Jim Beers, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
One way we can respond to this plea to “come together and talk about hard issues” is by attending Saturday night’s In Our Shoes event, which will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bud Werner Memorial Library’s Library Hall. This community event will include: an art exhibit of shoes that were created in response to individuals’ experience with sexual assault; spoken word performances; and a panel discussion featuring local experts who are on the frontlines of combatting sexual assault in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.
Based on the last eight weeks of reporting, we now know sexual assault is not isolated to big cities, and it does not discriminate. It happens here in our idyllic mountain town, and it can happen to anyone regardless of their sexual identity, age or socioeconomic class.
We hope people who have been impacted by the series will carve out a little time Saturday to come to the event. It’s a time for our community to join together to continue the conversation about sexual assault, and we hope many will attend to show their solidarity for the survivors and those who have stepped up to participate in the series.
What: In Our Shoes: The Event
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27
Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.
Free and open to the community
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