Skip to main content

The realities of sexual assault

May 15, 2019 10:08 pm

The social climate has to change, even in the Twin Counties, when it comes to child abuse and sexual assault.

It’s appropriate then, that a second alleged victim has come forward to accuse a Hudson man of rape.

Jamel D. Brandow, 36, of Hudson, was arraigned Friday on four new counts of first-degree rape, a class B felony, in Hudson City Court. His case was expected to go to a Columbia County grand jury.

The unidentified alleged victim came forward to Hudson police last week and told that she was raped four times between 2007 and 2008. She accused Brandow of the offenses.

The woman, now 20, reported the offenses to city detectives after she saw it in media reports detailing Brandow’s arrest April 5, according to the Hudson Police Department. Brandow was accused last week of violently and forcibly raping a 10-year-old girl at knifepoint at a State Street home, police said.

Why does this woman’s display of courage stand out?

Nearly eight out of every 10 rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, according to a Justice Department analysis of violent crime in 2016 summarized by the Brennan Center for Justice. Sadly, it’s common for sexual assault survivors — most frequently, women — to decline to report the offense to police.

At the same time, according to the Justice Department analysis, false accusations of rape or sexual assault are rare. It’s unfortunate that so many women, fearing humiliation or reprisal from their attackers, fail to report rape or sexual assault.

Twenty percent worry about retaliation and not just from the perpetrator, but from society at large, according to the Justice Department report. Thirteen percent think the police will not do anything to help. Eight percent didn’t think the rape or sexual assault was important enough to report. This is a tragedy.

Sexual assault is much more common than we believe, false accusations are much rarer than some have suggested and only one in five women report sexual assaults, according to the Justice Department analysis.

A young woman confronted the rapes and assaults she allegedly suffered as a child, and dared to confront police and society at large with her story. It’s time people listened to sexual assault survivors. Maybe then, this brave 20-year-old woman will be the rule instead of the exception.