April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month so in TODAY'S PAPER, I spoke to staff at My Sister's House about the added issues Latino victims face when it comes to reporting and recovering from a sexual assault.
Latino Outreach Coordinator Graciela Macias explained how Spanish culture places a huge taboo on sexual activity and how it is seen as sinful or shameful. Even if it is not a person's fault, the shame of sex is placed on the entire family so victims often hide the assault for fear of what it might do to their family.
Other unique issues these victims face include a language barrier, fear of deportation and fear that nothing will be done because, in their experience, sexual assault wasn't taken seriously by police in other countries. Advocates struggle to let these women know that talking is the first step to healing and that they do have rights and can trust police to investigate their assault.
Macias also talked to me about how a serious lack of resources for Spanish-speaking victims hampers their ordeal. Few police officers speak Spanish, so victims are often forced to rely on family or friends to translate their very personal trauma to officials.
I wanted to do this story not only to educate people on the issue, but also to help Latino victims themselves. The problem I came across when I was attempting to accomplish my second goal was that although I can read and speak a little Spanish, I am far from fluent. Thankfully my better half volunteered to translate the article for us.
The Spanish version of the article HERE hopefully will provide information about resources available to these victims that they might not have known about. Hopefully it will help them understand that they do have the right to report what happened and they will be taken seriously.
This is the first Spanish article the Rocky Mount Telegram will post, but it may not be the last. I've talked with our editors and, if the article is well-read, we may expand our Spanish-language services to fill the obvious void for local Spanish content.
What do you think about Spanish-language articles, videos and information on the Telegram's site? Do you think this would be useful? What else could we do to help?