Every once in a while, Kitsap County residents get a terrible reminder that they live in dangerous times and even a dangerous place.
Last week’s rapes in East Bremerton evidenced this.
So often we delude ourselves into believing that this sort of atrocity doesn’t happen in “our neighborhoods.” That this sort of act only takes place “on the other side of the Sound.” Not true.
Nor is it true that this sort or incident is now simply a “Central Kitsap problem.”
Sexual assault is the ugly sofa in our living rooms that we neither want to look at or sit on. No dump will take it either, meaning our communities are pretty much stuck with it.
Despite this, we try to ignore it. Try to walk around the topic until it affects our lives directly.
If anything good can come of this recent incident, we hope that people will learn to talk about how we can improve this situation. How society can remove the focus from criminals, and bettering their lives, and instead help those most impacted — the families and friends involved in the assault.
Too often these people are forgotten and the ill-gotten attention goes to some “reforming” convict.
This simply has to change.
Should society care more about a rapist than its own children? We hope this is not the case. Yet it is the man or woman who perpetrates sexual assault who receives the majority of state-assistance.
Not the victims.
Instead, they have to move on and take solace in the fact that their abuser is hopefully behind bars — for the time being. That he or she is being “punished” by being locked away from us all.
Meanwhile, victims must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
Our hearts go out to those who lost their innocence in this vile act of inhumanity. The families that are doing their best to bandage wounds that will never truly heal.
Even so, locking up sexual deviants is just the start.
As a society and a community we must do whatever we can to make sure such predators stay behind bars as long as possible.
Right now there are sex offenders living right here in North Kitsap.
As such, we must educate ourselves and work even harder to keep our children safe.
Rape doesn’t end with the act itself.
It begins with it.
Victims must live the remainder of their days knowing that they were violated and used.
Such acts also violate the community in which we live. Hearing such news, we all feel like we’ve lost something. Like one of our neighbors to the south used us all.
Our hearts go out to the victims of this travesty and all other victims of sexual assault. Be strong.