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After reading your article on Austin and Travis County’s sexual assault response system I was appalled at the lack of resources available for sexual assault survivors. [See “Is Travis County Doing Enough for Rape Survivors?
” Daily News, April 20.] I was already painfully aware of the deficiency in mental health services in Texas, but I was not aware of the gravity of sexual assault survivors’ unmet needs.
Consider how much more under-resourced professionals working with sexual assault victims would be if ALL victims sought services. However, sexual assault survivors don’t want to come forward when 94% of professionals believe the law does not fully address the crime and they are likely to be revictimized if they do report the crime. Sexual harassment and assault are starting to be talked about more in the media, but we need to start backing up our words and fund these needed services.
On April 13, 2018, The Austin Chronicle
published Chase Hoffberger's piece titled: “Everybody’s Got the Right
." I was troubled by the opinion he expressed in that piece, and even more so when I learned he is the editor of your News department – the standard bearer of the principles that this newspaper holds when it comes to reporting news.
Given that the gist of that piece is that the government's refusal to release the Austin bomber's confession may be a good thing, it is clear that Mr. Hoffberger is of the opinion that we readers can't be trusted to hear the bomber’s confession for fear that one of us will use it as a how-to guide for planning on our own act of terror. Even more disturbing than that paternalism, is his lack of conviction in his own opinion. It appears he hopes that the government won’t release the confession so that he won't actually have to decide whether it is news that is fit to print (or link to), much less exercise the courage it would take to decline to print such a compelling but arguably unfit item of news.
Perhaps your newspaper should fully embrace this novel reporting philosophy by adopting the following modified version of the New York Times
motto: “All the news that the government deems fit to print.”
As an aside, despite Mr. Hoffberger’s concern that some “challenged” member of the public might use the information contained in the Austin bomber's confession to wreak havoc, he exercised no restraint whatsoever in repeatedly printing the bomber’s name throughout the piece. Is he not concerned that in printing the actual name of the bomber he will inspire other “challenged" members of the public to commit acts of terror in hopes that their names will be printed in its pages?