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Letters to the Editor 

Defending Finn
While generally accurate, your article on the firing of Kathy Finn as editor of CityBusiness ("Border Crossings," April 9) contains an error. It misrepresented reporter Ian McNulty's quote from a CityBusiness article on my promotion to managing editor. Gambit Weekly recorded McNulty's quotation as, "We'll certainly miss Kathy's guidance and support, but Peter is clearly the right choice to direct the newsroom." The quote actually ended with the words "right now" -- as in, now that Kathy's been fired -- and that makes a big difference.

Your abridgment makes it sound as though Ian preferred my leadership in the newsroom to Kathy's. As much admiration as Ian and I have for one another, neither he, nor I, nor anyone on the editorial staff was glad to see Kathy go. The day she was fired was certainly the most tragic day in my professional career, and I think my colleagues felt the same way. I tried, in a diplomatic way, to make this clear when Allen Johnson interviewed me.

As for my promotion itself, I owe that not to Kathy's firing, but to Kathy herself. It was she who began pushing for it months before the publisher canned her.
Peter Reichard

Responding to Jefferson
I may at times disagree with your editorial comments, but I must give you credit for giving a full airing to the other side. It took a lot of intestinal fortitude to print Rep. William Jefferson's letter ("Jefferson Responds," Feb. 26) castigating you for your characterizations of the Pennington campaign as orchestrated by none other than Jefferson.

He refers to the African-American audience, which is 99 percent Democrat or so he says. I'm becoming increasingly offended by the use of hyphenated Americans. I'm part American Indian. Does that make me an American Indian-American? We are all Americans. We have a right to our individual preferences when we vote, regardless of what our ethnic origin may be or, for that matter, to which political party we belong.

If a group just goes in lock step so that they won't be known as a bad Republican or a bad Democrat, as Jefferson says, then heaven help our system. We just might as well get out the whips to keep those people in line. And don't pay attention to the merits of an opposing argument.

Jefferson's diatribe reminds me of the little kid who gets his hand caught in the cookie jar. (Which he did.) Methinks he protesteth way too much.

I think Pennington is an honorable man who got led down the wrong path by Jefferson and others. He has learned a bitter lesson.
Wayne Blankenship Jr.

Sexual Assault Awareness
Gov. Mike Foster has proclaimed the month of April "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" to increase public awareness about the issue. While we frequently hear about sexual assaults in the news, we still like to think rape happens to other people in other communities.

And it makes us feel better to blame the victim. If the victim "asked for it," then we are safe. Rape cannot happen to us.

Rapists do not rape because the victim is dressed a certain way. Rapists choose victims who are vulnerable. That is why almost any woman or child is a potential victim. In fact, the majority of rapes are committed against minors, and most rapes occur in a home -- not in a dark alley as many believe.

Every hour, approximately six women in Louisiana are raped. One in five women will be raped in her lifetime, and one in four will experience an attempted rape.

Despite these staggering statistics, rape remains a silent crime in our community and throughout Louisiana. Rape isn't polite. We don't talk about rape. We all know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault, but we may not know it. Victims hide this secret because we blame them. They are afraid they will not be believed and supported. That is why less than 15 percent of rapes are reported to authorities and less than two percent of rapists actually serve time in prison.

The wounds of sexual assault are usually not apparent on the outside, but they can be profound. Life may never be the same for a sexual assault victim, whether the rapist was a stranger, a date, an acquaintance or a family member. Thirteen percent of rape victims attempt suicide.

The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault sees not only the damage done to survivors, but to those who care about them. As a community, we are damaging ourselves by not talking about it. We continue to place our most vulnerable residents at risk by not supporting victims and not holding perpetrators accountable.

Let us ask how we can work together to reduce sexual assault and respond to survivors of this violence in a way that enables them to heal and regain control in their lives.

We encourage you to join us this month in our efforts to reach out to survivors. And let us commit to face the reality that rape lives in our own backyards.

Stephanie Maureaux
Program Manager
Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

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