Stereotyping RapeThe Sept. 7 letter from William M. Smith...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 19, 1994

Stereotyping Rape

The Sept. 7 letter from William M. Smith, "Barricades and Crime in Guilford," contained a harmful stereotype about rape.

Speaking of crimes committed in wealthy neighborhoods, the writer stated that "the vast majority of violent crime (burglary, rape, murder) is committed not by people who live [in wealthy neighborhoods] but by outsiders from the poor neighborhoods."

This statement perpetuates the harmful and incorrect stereotype that most rapes are committed by strangers from the poor side of town.

In reality, most victims of sexually assault know their attacker. People tend to know and associate with people from similar socio-economic backgrounds; the rapes that occur in wealthy neighborhoods are usually committed by other residents from wealthy neighborhoods.

This incorrect stereotype only helps perpetuate classism and racism. It also keeps us from focusing on the real problem: the majority of women who are raped, are raped by the men they know.

David Toland

Baltimore

AIDS Prevention

It is difficult to take issue with the main thesis of Margaret Kim's Opinion * Commentary article, Sept 6, "In Defense of a Little Compassion.''

We certainly need more compassion in this world. Nevertheless, I do believe Ms. Kim was wrong in her excessive criticism of Focus on the Family.

I have followed James Dobson and his organization with interest for a number of years, and I have never known Dr. Dobson to demonstrate anything less than sincere care and compassion for all human beings.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for all who call themselves Christians.

I am sure that Ms. Kim is aware of the government funded campaign to promote the use of condoms as an AIDS preventive.

In their casual treatment of sexually intimacy, many of these condom ads are extremely offensive to many of us.

On the other hand, comparatively little public money has been used to promote chastity as a viable, and infinitely safer, alternative.

I believe that the Focus in the Family ad was attempting to bring balance to this discussion and point out that there is a better way.

As for the different estimates of the effectiveness of condoms in preventing AIDS (69 percent vs. 100 percent), I think the difference is easily explained by the ways these estimates were derived.

To assume that sexually active teens and young adults will always use condoms in the same way the uninfected couples in the New England Journal of Medicine study used them would require a real leap of faith.

I therefore believe that Focus on the Family's 69 percent effectiveness estimate is probably much closer to the mark.

Anyway, I thank Ms. Kim for her well-reasoned thoughts on this subject.

dwin S. Jordan

Ellicott City

Rights for Dogs

In response to Geoffrey Felding's Opinion * Commentary piece Sept. 2 and his concerns over dogs at Lake Roland:

I have lived in Baltimore City since 1968, in West, Central, and now East Baltimore in a condominium in Canton. I have been a dog owner all of those 26 years.

One of my greatest pleasures, among many of life in the city, has been meeting other dog owners on a daily basis while the dogs chased frisbees, caught balls and communicated with each other, as we did.

The joy in play and exercise makes dogs better citizens and companions. We learned the importance of picking up after them and kept them from harming flowers and to respect small children.

When does a pleasure become a right? The quality of life in the city connected to the ritual of dog walking is being eroded, narrowed and denied.

Recently the waterfront park in Canton where I live, and chose to live there because of it, went the way of so many public green areas where dogs can exercise.

In the guise of protecting the Korean War Memorial from romping dogs when the real vandals are those who come in the night and chip out the letters with chisels, comes yet another spate of "No Dogs Allowed" signs.

I pay almost $200 a week in combined city and state taxes. I pick up after my dog. I believe all dog owners should and that this is the enforceable issue. Dogs and their owners together have a right to enjoy public spaces.

I believe that in the growing numbers of places where dogs are not allowed there should be areas designated for dogs so it is clear where they can be exercised without harassment.

Smokers have this right, and while it narrows their options and demeans them, everyone's "rights" are retained.

Shirley Landon Lupton

Canton

Offensive Cartoon

I found KAL's Sept. 4 cartoon ridiculing religious leaders, including Pope John Paul, who disagreed with those proposing negative solutions at the Cairo population conference, to be offensive and selective in its indignation.

Why, for example, was there no Orthodox Jewish rabbi pictured with leaders opposing abortion and sterilization?

And how can the once-Christian West impose its hedonistic "morality" on developing nations when most of its nations are experiencing family-life crises and no longer having the 2.1 birth rate needed for survival?

Arlene Hamm

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