Editorial: Aesop’s fable still applicable

Feb. 21, 2013 @ 07:06 PM

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is six weeks away in April. But in Henderson and Vance County, a recent series of events has brought it into focus sooner.

At the Bureau of Justice Statistics website, sexual assault is defined as a wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. The crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force.

What has happened here recently, according to the Henderson Police Department and the Vance County Sheriff’s Office, is assailants approaching women and often in cars. Time of day has not been a factor.

In two cases, a sexual assault and a rape were reported, including one in front of two pre-teen boys.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network bills itself as the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. According to RAINN, every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. The annual number of sexual assaults, according to RAINN, is more than 200,000.

Bad as that may be, the situation here has been plundered worse by citizens claiming they want to help others.

Through social media outlets, a number of incidents have been described as happening when in fact there is no report to law enforcement to substantiate the claims. The outcome is expected — panic.

Taking time and energy away from law enforcement investigating a serious case, only to leave them with false information, is disrespectful to those who have been victimized. It is an obstruction.

Often, adults learn from children and today we should be learning from a children’s fable from Aesop, the Greek storyteller.

The shepherd boy who tended his sheep near a village wanted amusement, attention or both, and his cries of “Wolf!” more than once brought the village running. But when it mattered, and a wolf was truly there, nobody came and the flock was devoured.

Liars are not to be believed, even when they tell the truth.

We should respect the victims, law enforcement trying to catch the bad guys and the tools for sharing information we have at our disposal. Don’t make a bad situation worse.