June 4, 2012
Sexual assault is an extremely personal crime. Victims of sexual crimes have been violated in the most intimate, private ways, and many experience intense feelings of betrayal and isolation about their experiences. Furthermore, victims of sexual crimes are sometimes taunted or harassed by others or are the target of malicious gossip or intrusive questions. Due to these concerns, it is not uncommon for victims to refuse to tell anyone about what has happened to them.
That’s why the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is dismayed by the court’s decision to deny the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case the opportunity to use pseudonyms during the trial. Although we applaud the court’s request of media outlets to not use the alleged victims’ real names, we feel that the court could have done more.
Survivors everywhere are watching this case. How this trial is handled by the courts, and by the media, will have lasting impact on victims of sexual assault. If we as a society want to hold offenders accountable for their actions and keep our communities safe, we must afford victims of sex crimes basic rights, beginning with the right to privacy.