Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7
Help available for assault victims
Each sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinson's experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.
Sexual assault survivors experience emotional trauma that can have a long-term impact on their relationships, education, career and overall well-being. Their sense of self-esteem and personal security have been violated. This, coupled with questions and doubts from family, friends and authority figures ("Why were you there?", "How many people have you slept with?", "Were you drinking?") can add a sense of betrayal and self-blame that moves the perceived responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim.
While we have a long way to go in improving the support and care our society provides to survivors, there is more acceptance and more resources available now compared to previous decades. Whether someone was sexually assaulted 48 years ago or 48 hours ago, they need to know that help is available. There are 32 certified rape crisis centers in Florida that believe and support victims of sexual assault. In addition to the initial medical forensic exam (a.k.a. rape kit), these locally operated organizations provide victim advocacy, information and referrals, trauma counseling services and support groups. It isn't necessary to press charges to receive services. At the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, these services are free of charge — no one should have to pay for being a victim of a crime.
Sexual assault services can also be reached by calling 2-1-1 in any county in Florida. Survivors and their loved ones can connect confidentially to emotional support and information pertaining to community programs designed to assist sexual assault survivors. They can chose services that are right for them regardless of income, insurance or when the assault took place.
Clara Reynolds, president and CEO, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Tampa
Home health care
Dedicated and caring
Shame on the Tampa Bay Times for asking people to share their bad home health stories. Not good and bad stories, not heart-warming good stories, just bad stories. As an owner of a physical and occupational therapy contract company that works with home health agencies to provide therapy to homebound clients, I can promise you that for every bad story, there are a 100 good ones.
Home health clinicians not only provide services necessary to return a client back to their prior functional status, those same clinicians discover in the home other medical or nonmedical conditions that otherwise would have gone undetected.
Often on their own time and expense, clinicians help pick up food when clients have none. They move furniture, help build a ramp, stop by a thrift store to pick up a walker when insurance won't provide one. They contact faraway family members when situations become unsafe. They make sure clients are taking their medicines properly. They help bathe and feed clients when needed. Therapists, nurses and home health aides are frequently the sunshine of the day for their patients.
Shelley S. West, Trinity
Pollution threat lurks in old tanks | Jan. 7
End 'profits above people'
This article reveals that Florida has been routinely targeting low-priority contaminated sites for cleanup but doesn't address why. Our research at the USF Center for Brownfields Research indicates that the majority of high-scoring contaminated sites are in predominately low-income (and often minority) neighborhoods where redevelopment of contaminated sites is difficult. Low-scoring sites, on the other hand, are often in more affluent neighborhoods where opportunities for redevelopment abound. This is not always the case, but the correlations are statistically significant.
Perhaps the recent legislation to support cleanup of low-scoring sites has had the unintended consequence of diverting resources away from poorer neighborhoods to wealthier ones where there is potentially greater return on investment. This "profits above people" approach should be examined further because it has serious implications for human health.
Christian Wells, Temple Terrace
Complaints roll in for bus changes | Jan. 7
Woeful public transit
This article serves to validate the obvious. Hillsborough County's feeble facade of providing reliable public transportation, and thereby helping reduce the rapidly increasing traffic snarl in and around Tampa, does not serve the public.
Perhaps if the honorable members of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority took it upon themselves to experience the convenience of reliable bus transportation as ably demonstrated by hundreds of comparable areas around the country, their blinders would fall away and the realization would set in that "transit" does not translate as "get in your car and drive."
As a newcomer to the area, I am more than disappointed at the dearth of public transportation available to growing communities on the outskirts of Tampa.
Kirk Hazlett, Riverview
Hollywood can do more
I, too, am part of the #metoo movement. The details are not important, but back in the mid '80s a well-known baseball player and play-by-play announcer touched me inappropriately in front of a group of people.
It is exciting to live in a time when so many people are coming forward to share their stories and to see how Hollywood is stepping to the front. It is impressive to know of the more than $15 million that has been raised as part of the legal defense fund.
However, as I watched the Golden Globes, I thought about all the very wealthy people in the audience. They are not all wealthy, but can you imagine how much money would be in the fund if each of those who could wrote a check for $1 million? The fund would be well in excess of $100 million.
It is time for them to do more than just talk. I say, "Put your money where your mouth is."
Linda Hansen, Largo