FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Advocates Concerned Immigration Rhetoric Minimizing Needs of Sexual Assault Survivors

Mar 24th, 2017


Advocates Concerned Immigration Rhetoric

Minimizing Needs of Sexual Assault Survivors

Sexual Assaults in Schools Should Be Addressed

  Silver Spring, Md., March 24, 2017— The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) expressed deep concern about the rape of a young woman in Rockville High School and is troubled that the attention on immigration issues is minimizing the needs of victims of sexual assault.  “It is shocking that the rape of a 14 year old girl is being used by political leaders to further inflame the immigration debate,” said Lisae C. Jordan, Executive Director & Counsel for MCASA. “Allowing other agendas to distract from focusing on sexual assault is a disservice to survivors, and runs a serious risk of discouraging victims from coming forward.” Public statements about the rape of a 14 year-old girl at Rockville High School have focused on the immigration status of the perpetrators.  The students who have been arrested in the attack also attend Rockville High and are in the US without documentation.  Public officials have largely avoided the issue of sexual violence, instead referring to “safety” or “security” or calling the rape an “event.” There have been virtually no public officials calling attention to the need for services for sexual survivors.  Sexual assault is more prevalent among adolescents than any other age group, with 33% of all victims falling in the 13-17 age range.  “Statements suggesting that this rape occurred because of the perpetrators’ immigration status are not only wrong, they endanger the public by suggesting that certain types of people are more likely to commit rape,” said Jordan. “Sexual assault occurs in every community and every community needs access to services.” MCASA encouraged policy-makers to continue to focus attention on addressing sexual assault, noting that both the Maryland executive branch and the General Assembly are working on policies to support victims.  The Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention funds a well-respected project providing regional trainings to address sexual assault in schools.  The Maryland legislature is considering several bills addressing sexual assault.  These include training for law enforcement, school curricula on consent, and the Sexual Assault Victims Resources Act which would increase funding for services for sexual assault survivors.  Federal advocates echo the need for support.  The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence highlighted the dire need to increase Violence Against Women Act programs to ensure survivors have services The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) is the coalition of all of the state’s rape crisis centers and other organizations and individuals concerned with ending sexual violence.  MCASA has staff dedicated to addressing and preventing sexual violence in schools through training, advocacy, and legal services for students.  For more information about how to get help for survivors or support MCASA’s policy advocacy, visit

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