RAPE RELIEF VOLUNTEERS: ANGRY FANATICS?Dear Editor, I read with dismay Paul Axelrod's account of Seattle Rape Relief's volunteer core meeting on June 28 ["Radical Relief," July 8]. The purpose and spirit of that meeting, as well as our efforts as volunteers, does not even remotely match the portrayal in this article.
Our reason for being there, and for the majority vote to "reclaim the agency," was because volunteers and community members want to see services to sexual assault survivors return as soon as possible. Instead of acknowledging this and accurately portraying our purpose and energy, Axelrod made the volunteers out to be a bunch of angry fanatics.
We are a group of dedicated women and men who have spent countless hours of our own personal time to help survivors of sexual assault. We understand the damage to the body, mind, and spirit of sexual assault survivors. We recognize that the closure of SRR creates a hole in Seattle's communities that cannot be filled by non-profits in other areas.
We do not condone violence, nor would we ever attempt a "physical" confrontation, as Axelrod claimed. We never discussed or alluded to these measures during our meeting. In fact, we are trained in anti-oppressive language and behaviors. Violence has never been an option discussed.
Admitting defeat and walking away is not something we can do. We are dedicated to ending sexual violence and helping those affected by it. We didn't lose a paycheck. This isn't some kind of personal revenge. We lost the support of a board of directors that is out of touch with the mission of its agency. That's unfortunate. But it doesn't mean the end of social change and help for sexual assault survivors.
How disappointing that a paper like The Stranger does not recognize the value in this mission, and chooses to attack people whose only goal is to help others. Axelrod's sensationalist characterization of "pissed-off women" and "radicals" obviously made better copy for The Stranger than the truth.
Volunteer Advocate with SRR
SeattleTHE STRANGER: CAN WE MAKE A COHERENT ARGUMENT?To the Editor: Besides being riddled with errors (we never encouraged anyone to be violent and we certainly never called for physical confrontations), Paul Axelrod's article on Seattle Rape Relief volunteers is pretty inconsistent. He makes fun of women for being "pissed off"; then he criticizes us for being passive. He laments that SRR's program staff didn't stay and fight; then he advises volunteers to give up and walk away. If The Stranger is going to print a story without correct information, at least be sure to make it sound as if you're making a coherent argument.Alisa Bierria
Seattle Rape Relief volunteer
QUAKERS: ARE THEY DANGEROUS AND VIOLENT?To the Editor: What meeting did Paul Axelrod attend on the night of June 28? Apparently not the same meeting that drew over 50 diverse community members concerned about the continuation of Seattle Rape Relief.For over 27 years, SRR volunteers have struggled to stop violence and challenge oppressive behavior. We would never consider violent tactics to reclaim the agency. It's particularly ironic that both of us [Anthippy Petras and Heather McRae-Woolf, SRR volunteers], who were [mischaracterized] by Axelrod, are Quakers -- we believe in non-violent solutions to conflict.
Axelrod's claim that volunteers could have prevented the current situation if only they had been active in board decisions in the past is offensive, and shows a lack of understanding of the role of volunteers. As in most volunteer-based organizations, SRR volunteers are trained to provide services. Volunteers must be able to trust that the board and management will provide leadership, and listen when concerns are raised.
Seattle Rape Relief volunteers
Editor's note: We stand by our story.
SHAPIRO: RIGHT-WING FEAR-MONGER?Dear Samantha: I am writing in regard to the article you wrote entitled "Commie Day Care" [In Other News, Samantha M. Shapiro, June 17].In the past, we were thrilled with the coverage you gave to child-care organizing and the issues surrounding it. Based on this past experience, your recent piece was disappointing. To use terms like "commie" and "pretty pink" is inflammatory, and gives undeserved credence to right-wing fear-mongering. We hope the right-wing ideologues don't use your article to attack our progress.
Kim Cook, Regional Director
District 925/Service Employees International Union, Eastlake
MARGARET PAGELER: SHUT DOWN STRANGER?Editor: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR NEWSPAPER'S QUESTIONING OF MY ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT BECAUSE I DIDN'T DISMISS TIMBER SALES OUT OF HAND DURING THE fiVE-YEAR DEVELOPMENT OF THE CEDAR RIVER WATERSHED HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN (HCP) ["LET THE GAMES BEGIN," BY JOSH FEIT, BEN JACKLET, AND ERICA HALL, JULY 8]. FOR THE fiRST THREE YEARS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS LANDMARK ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT, EVEN THE SIERRA Club agreed that the management of this vast acreage would be funded in part through timber sales.However, after discussions with representatives of the Sierra Club and the Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project 18 months ago, I sponsored a resolution which directed the city to include alternative methods of funding the $87 million project in the analysis of the Environmental Impact Statement. This was done, and based on scientific analysis and overwhelming public sentiment for a no-logging commitment, I voted for this element of the HCP. We are saving an immense forest for the people of the region.
Although I disagree with your paper equating any logging -- no matter how limited -- to an anti-environmental agenda, I do look forward to The Stranger forgoing the use of wood products in the future. Think of the millions of trees which will not be going into the newsprint currently used for your paper's publication. You, too, can save a forest.
Seattle City CouncilPRISON GUARDS: NOT REALLY GUARDS?To the Editor: I'm employed at the Washington Correction Center for Women. I take offense to the reporter's description of prison security staff as "GUARDS"! ["Bad Medicine," by Trisha Ready, July 1.]I am not a guard! I'm employed as a Correctional Officer. I'm a professional! I do not "guard." If it were not for the quick responses and professionalism of Correctional Officers, inmates might succeed in their suicide attempts. WCCW offers great medical, mental, and dental health care, [as well as] training for all staff at WCCW. The Department of Corrections at all institutions offers programs for [inmates] who choose to better themselves, be productive, and make changes in their lives.
"Deadwood", via e-mail
HUMP: SEATTLE'S MOST ENTERTAINING WRITER?To the Editor: This is an unabashed fan letter. Mass kudos to the most entertaining writer in Seattle, Wm.™ Steven Humphrey, for his elegiac article on the past, present, and threatened future of Georgetown ["Fort Georgetown," July 8]. Only his dazzling Monkey Angels satire was more engaging ["Monkey Angels: Do They Exist?" Oct 30, 1997]. That one, I must confess, I copied and passed out to my friends and family (they loved it) and to the Mormon mouth-breathers at my workplace (they were flustered by it).W. S. H. is a Dada-esque combination of Ring Lardner and Voltaire, with a soupçon of H. L. Mencken thrown in for spice: Give us more, MORE! Write a book, Wm.™ Steven -- I'll buy the first 10 copies off the presses.
M. L. Bordelon, Seattle
CD REVIEW REVUE: BELOW LAME?To the Editor: Not to be overly critical, but I felt that the CD Review Revue [July 8] was a baby step below LAME. Considering the sheer numbers of CDs recorded in Seattle alone, are we not able to conjure up more than four or five CD reviews that have little or nothing to do with anything? Seriously, Doris Day? Who the fuck is she? The King? Thank God he killed himself before he started selling insurance on TV. We can do better than this!Gregg Maloof, via e-mail