The influx of these allegations is not because society is becoming more violent, it is because we are creating an environment where victims can report such crimes. Society is taking small steps each day to stop shaming victims and start focusing on the perpetrators.
The islands are following the nationwide trend that calls attention to the way we discuss crimes – from sexual assault to domestic violence.
Look at the recent women’s march on San Juan Jan. 20 where men and women held signs to protest the violation of human rights in all sectors. You can also check out a column by islander Amy Herdy, investigative producer of “The Hunting Ground.” She calls for millennials to clean up the mess of misogyny, racism, and gender inequality, which they unfairly inherited.
In 2017, more than 280 hotline calls were made to SAFE San Juans and it assisted 64 domestic violence survivors: five males, 59 females and 10 between the ages of 18 and 24. The agency also supported 48 survivors of sexual assaults in 2017: seven males and 41 females; six between the ages of 13 and 17 and 12 between the ages of 18 and 24.
Despite these steps forward, we know that nationally 68 percent of abuse cases are not reported.
So what can we do here on the islands? We can choose to support the victims of violent crimes, and not defend or excuse the actions of convicted offenders. We can start talking about the reality of crimes occurring in our communities. If you see something suspicious you can contact Safe San Juans (safesj.org) and report that you are concerned. We can support programs like Safe San Juans that not only help heal victims, but also ask the community to take a stand against such crimes. We can take a stand. We can give victims a voice.
Stand up men campaign
If you are a man you can join the Stand Up Men, who take a stand against violence.