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When sexual abuse is common knowledge — but nobody speaks up



Zachary Kaufman in his article in the Boston Globe asks the question of bystanders in cases of sexual assault. He asks why these bystanders often fail to come forward. He asks why we do not have the duty to report laws in all 50 states to require all witnesses to report these crimes. Following these questions, Kaufman suggests policy amendment which would make the prosecution of those accused of sexual assault easier. Kaufman believes this would also enable more victims to speak up as well as adding credibility to their statements. Kaufman further suggests public awareness campaigns to help citizens understand the presence and severity of these laws. He also suggests supporting ‘upstanders’ who speak out without prompting, suggesting prizes or recognition as a possible incentive for people to report sexual crimes when they occur.

“Given how often sexual abuse occurs with the tacit knowledge of third parties, it requires a collective response. A combination of rewards and duty-to-report laws could prompt would-be bystanders to get off the sidelines. #MeToo has been a powerful rallying cry, but upstanders also need to say #WeDo.”

Read the full article here.