Letter Submission

To submit a letter to the editor, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters must contain the author's name, hometown (state as well, if not in New Hampshire) and phone number, but the number will not be published. We do not run anonymous letters. Local issues get priority, as do local writers. We encourage writers to keep letters to no more than 400 words, but will accept longer letters to be run on a space-available basis. Letters may be edited for spelling, grammar, punctuation and legal concerns.

 

Froma Harrop - Make names of rape acusers public

Jackie's shocking account of gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house has been growing holes by the day. And it has put Rolling Stone — the magazine that published it without identifying the accuser, the friends she quoted or the alleged rapists — under a harsh light. It only named the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi.

Not naming the accusers in rape cases has become a standard journalistic practice, pushed by advocates for the victims. That must end.

Failure to identify those involved, ostensibly to protect the alleged victim's privacy, can't help but undermine the credibility of the reporting. It also poorly serves victims by feeding the idea that being raped is a disgrace. Rape is a violent crime, a felony, and women subjected to it should feel no more shame than those who are slashed or punched in the face.

Sometimes reporters do have to shield the identity of sources, particularly in matters of national security. But letting anyone spread information under the veil of anonymity removes one of the safeguards for reliability.

Rolling Stone has published great work over the years, but for this story, it grievously compounded the error of not identifying anyone by not double-checking Jackie's story. That Jackie asked the reporter to refrain from contacting the alleged attackers isn't surprising. That the reporter did as she was asked is amazing. If Jackie made not verifying information a demand for her cooperation, the magazine should have taken a pass.

The details here were so grotesque that critics would inevitably question them. For example, a friend Jackie contacted after the alleged crime told The Washington Post that she seemed upset but was not bloody or beaten as the article asserted. And he said that Jackie spoke of having been forced to perform oral sex, which is different from the genital torture described in the article.

In this and other rape complaints where some claims come unraveled, the advocates often respond that "something happened." And something very well may have. But unless someone on the scene comes out to discuss what that was, it's almost impossible to get at an accepted truth. There are brutal rapes, false accusations of rape and lots in between.
A man dropping a knockout pill in a woman's drink and then sexually assaulting her has committed rape. That is clear.

But the in-between circumstances can complicate reaching such conclusions. In campus cases, the man and woman are often friends. Two students getting mutually drunk or high and not clearly communicating their level of sexual interest leaves a murkier picture.

The gray areas may help explain why some accusers ask college officials not to ruin their alleged attacker's life with expulsion from school. A savage rapist shouldn't even be on the streets, much less on campus.

Do some women fear retaliation by the men? They may, but that can happen anytime someone charges another with a crime.

Rolling Stone did itself no good by briefly blaming Jackie for the inaccuracies. The magazine quickly recovered its senses and put the blame on itself.

In a long note expressing regret, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote, "In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment — the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day."

That is true, but reporters and editors should expand their sensitivities to include the reputations of those accused, not always justly. Finally, everyone — especially advocates for rape victims — should work at countering the notion that women traumatized by a violent crime need to hide in shame.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 307

Thanks for help with auction to benefit annual Sled Dog Derby

To The Daily Sun,

On Dec. 4, the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club held its 15th annual auction to raise funds for the World Championship Lakes Region Sled Dog Derby, scheduled for Feb. 13-15, 2015. This derby holds the distinction of being the longest-running sled dog race in the world. It is with the generous support of the citizens of the Lakes Region and patrons of our auction that we are able to keep sled dog racing alive in Laconia.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who made our auction such a great event and we appreciate your help in keeping the "Greatest Show on Snow" running. Contributors were:

Shea Concrete, Kitchen Encounters, Inn Season Resorts, Devin Jewelers Inc., Curt's Caterers, Norvik Kennels, Del R. Gilbert & Son Block Co., John H. Lyman and Sons Inc., Lahey Landscaping, Ambrose Bros., Fashion Forward Salon, Greg Miner, Belknap Tire & Auto Repair, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Watermark Marine, Amoskeag Beverages, MB Tractor & Equipment, Cybertron, Water Industries, Sanel Auto Parts, Airport Country Store & Deli, Jordan Equipment, Dan Mather, Winnipesaukee Truck, Repair Service of New England, Lowe's Home Improvement, Sidney Frank Importing Co., All Brite Cleaning & Restoration, E.J Prescott, NH Distributors, Local Eatery, Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, Piche's Ski & Sport, Trudy Kenny Therapeutic Massage, Smoke N' Barley, Gilford Hills Tennis & Fitness Club, Granite State Glass, D & D Country Market & Deli, Baron's Major Brands Appliances, Nutter Enterprises Inc., Patrick's Pub & Eatery, Suddenly Still Photography, Terry Wilson USPTA, HK Powersports, Cherish LaBelle ReFresh Salon, Laconia Car Wash, Stafford Oil Company, Trustworthy Hardware, Laconia Ice Arena, Winni Paw Station, Winni Girl, J.P. China Restaurant, No Weare Else, Miss Lakes Region Outstanding Teen, Ashley Conrad, Volunteer Members of LRSDC.

Jen Lyman

Lakes Region Sled Dog Club

  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 297