OPINION: “Speaker Casada, We Need To Talk”

Kristina Richardson is a mother, a veteran, and a rape survivor who lives in Rep. David Byrd’s district. She wrote this in response to an op-ed written by Speaker Glen Casada the Tennessean made a highly suspect decision to publish, which came in the wake of the video we put out last week showing Speaker Casada defending his support for Rep. David Byrd, who has apologized on tape for sexually molesting female high school basketball players he coached.

I write Speaker of the House Glen Casada on behalf of every person who may have seen your op-ed decrying “fake news” and false rape reports under the guise of advocating for sexual assault victims.

I write on behalf of every person who saw the video of you speaking with Justin Kanew, and heard the twisted tapestry of lies and half truths that you wove. I write on behalf of every rape survivor who heard the words come out of your mouth, “If I were raped, I’d move. And hell would hath no fury.”

I am a rape survivor, and I can tell you that your meaning was one hundred percent clear despite the pathetic spinning that you have done. As it seems that you are in dire need of an education on sexual violence in our country, I have taken it upon myself to provide you with some information.

Sexual and domestic abuse are bipartisan issues. They are not part of a left-leaning agenda, as you claim. Republicans, Democrats, men, women, children of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and income levels are victims of this type of violence.

The only political agenda that I have regarding sexual and domestic violence is that they be treated as the heinous crimes that they are, and that the accused perpetrators be thoroughly investigated without bias regardless of their wealth, power, or standing in their community.

In your post, you immediately make sexual abuse a partisan issue. You question why those on “the left” seem to receive less media attention when they are accused of abuse. I can’t answer that for certain, but I do have a theory.

I strongly suspect that there is less attention when Democrats are accused of abuse because they often quickly step down. They know that their constituents will not accept that type of behavior.

When you have a man like David Byrd, who refused to step down even when he was asked by his own party to resign, then this type of situation will obviously remain in the news cycle for quite some time.

And to clarify, we at Enough is Enough TN do our very best to remove abusers from positions of power without concern for political affiliation.

Men are more likely to be the victims of sexual assault themselves than be falsely accused of it. There have been numerous studies done on the subject of false rape reports. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, there are three types of cases that can be classified as “false”:  unsubstantiated, baseless, or false.

Two of these have an element of presumed truthf but not enough physical evidence to prosecute the crime. The third includes accusations that can be proven to be entirely fabricated.

All three of the classifications fall under the umbrella term of a false report despite the fact that a crime may very well have been committed. Even with all of these cases lumped together, the Symposium on False Allegations of Rape estimates the number of false rape accusations is only two to six percent.

And remember – this is very important — many of those cases likely did involve an actual sexual assault.

In order to truly tackle sexual assault in this country, the answer is to start by believing. Approach each accusation of sexual or domestic abuse as if it merits an investigation. Do not let prejudice, prior relationships, money, social status, politics, or anything else prevent you from looking at the case with eyes wide open.

Examine the accusation, don’t try to discredit the victim. Because, if you have taken nothing else from this, I hope you’ve learned that the odds are exceedingly great that they are telling the truth.

Finally: Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t make it fake news.

Kristina is a volunteer with a local organization for sexual and domestic violence victims, Enough is Enough TN, and Indivisible Hardin County.

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