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dealing with divorce

To the Editor:

am writing in response to "The Great Divide" (Jan. 30). Jewish Family Service is pleased that you focused on the effects of divorce on children, who are often forgotten in the chaos of family break-up.

We would like Gambit readers to know that, in addition to the three-hour mandated education program for divorcing parents in Jefferson Parish, there are also other resources available. Jewish Family Service, a United Way agency, offers an in-depth eight-week program for children and their divorced or separated parents. Facilitated by experienced clinical social workers, "Coping With Divorce" has recently been selected by the Children's Services Collaborative as one of the "Best Practices" in children's counseling.

A unique aspect of "Coping With Divorce" is that the program is really two groups -- one for children and one for their parents -- that meet at the very same time, indicating that divorce is indeed a total family problem. While the children work on sharing feelings and practicing conflict-resolution skills with one social worker, their parents are down the hall with another social worker learning how to talk to their children about divorce and how to keep their kids "out of the middle."

We encourage all parents who are separated or divorced to take advantage of the many excellent resources in our community that are available to them and their children. For more information, the Jewish Family Service number is 831-8475.

Deena Gerber

Executive Director

Jewish Family Service

Victim blaming

To the Editor:

hile some people may enjoy Ronnie Virgets' sarcastic stream of consciousness, he should be more sensitive about his choice of victims ("Where's the Justice?" Feb. 6).

Often times, rape survivors say that having to endure the rape exam at the hospital is like being raped all over again. Then they have to be subjected to the scrutiny of the police investigation where their every action is questioned and sometimes judged. Next, the survivor begins the arduous task of maneuvering through the court system. When the case is finally heard, imagine how difficult it is to sit in front of a sea of strangers and tell the minute details of this humiliating experience. This is where Mr. Virgets decided to use someone else's victimization for our supposed entertainment. Imagine how it must have felt to that courageous woman who came forward to read about herself in such a demeaning manner and to have her anonymity violated. Rape is not about how you look or dress, and it is not about drugs or alcohol. Rape is about power and control.

This article only served to perpetuate the myth of victim blaming. There is a certain amount of social responsibility that accompanies being a journalist, and Mr. Virgets abdicated his in writing this article. Unfortunately, through his callous humor, Mr. Virgets has done a grave disservice to this rape victim and all survivors of sexual assault.

Nancy Heilner

Program Coordinator

YWCA Rape Crisis Program

bush, friend of the arts?

To the Editor:

have noticed that Mr. Bookhardt is unhappy that George Bush won the presidential election. Should the intention of President Bush to eradicate the so-called death tax become a reality, this would be the biggest boon to art in the past 30 years or so. Wealthy parties would not have to go through a sham routine involving indirect "arts"-related contributions as a way to lighten the tax burden, as they do under the current system. Those truly interested in Serious Art would have more of their own money with which to support it directly through purchase. Arts organizations of dubious authenticity, of which there are many locally, would be out of business. Mr. Bookhardt would presumably have to elevate his criticism to reach the level of Serious Art when and if this change in the way things are comes to pass.

Frederich Nicholas Trenchard

thanks for the memories

To the Editor:

am writing to say thank you for the 20th anniversary issue of Gambit. It was fun to remember the early days and to look at the achievements over the years.

There were two omissions that may be worth mentioning. The first is the credit due Philip Carter, the major owner of Gambit in the early days. Philip comes from a noble tradition of great journalism, and he made the whole thing possible. I understand that he was interviewed but was too modest to talk much.

The second omission is that, in my opinion, not enough credit was give to Margo DuBos. Margo did a great job as sales manager and as publisher really put Gambit on the right business footing. She, too, is quite modest about that, but we shouldn't let people like her and Philip go without the credit they deserve.

Gary Esolen

Editor's Note: Gary Esolen is the founder of Gambit.

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