Christy Holstege sits on the Palm Springs City Council, she is vocal on taking a stand against sexual assault but she not only shares an opinion, but she also shares a personal experience.
Holstege said she was in high school when she was sexually assaulted and she did not report the incident immediately.
Holstege said, “It took me over a decade to tell anyone when we say that we were raped we are often shamed.”
She said there is a culture of victim shaming towards people who step forward with claims of being raped or assaulted, therefore she said survivors like herself are afraid to share their story.
Holstege said, “Usually it takes years and years and multiple attempts for people to report these crimes and we know we’re going to be shamed for it, we know we are going to be questioned.”
It took decades for accusers of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Les Moonves to share their allegations. It also took years for California professor, Christine Blasey Ford, to voice an accusation against supreme court judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh dating back to high school.
The difference now, is Ford has the president of the United States hinting at questioning the validity of her claims through a tweet.
Holstege responds to that tweet, she said, “What he is saying feeds into that problem that people aren’t coming forward to report and it’s an ongoing epidemic in our society.”
She said people choose not to report sexual assaults for many reasons, one of them is the lack of action by the criminal justice system.
Data from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) said out of 310 rapes reported to police, 57 will lead to an arrest but only six will be incarcerated.
“People know raping women and girls is wrong and sexually assaulting them is wrong,” Holstege said. “And I would hope to see more men speaking out to say this isn’t normal, this isn’t something I’ve done.”
There are resources available in the Coachella Valley aimed to help sexual assault survivors, they are listed below.
- Shelter from the Storm, for Victims of Domestic Violence, provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence professionally, ethically, and compassionately.
- Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services provides free services to survivors of violent crimes and their families.
- Safe House of the Desert provides immediate help to youth and families experiencing crisis situations.