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News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor
The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Who are the real predators?

By De Stewart, VANCOUVER
Published: July 15, 2017, 6:00am

Thank you to all who declined to sign Initiative 1552. Backers of I-1552 — an anti-transgender bathroom bill — failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

As an advocate with the YWCA Clark County Sexual Assault Program, I have objected to the language of “closing the predator loophole” from the beginning. I am grateful this attempt at repealing protections in our human rights law failed, as it would have made everyone less safe and draws attention away from who really are the perpetrators of sexual assault; over 94 percent of the time it is someone the victim knows.

Perpetrators of sexual assault, voyeurism, etc., existed before the Human Rights Commission ruling and will continue to exist even if I-1552 were passed. That’s why there are laws for prosecuting such crimes.

Instead of inciting fear of a marginalized community, we need to have honest talks about the real predators and work toward eliminating sexual assault. We should empower children with information and tools as opposed to “stranger danger” and bathroom fear. I encourage individuals to educate themselves with reputable information from sources such as www.rainn.org or your local community sexual assault prevention program.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter