Why is this man smiling?
Rape is a horrifying crime that affects thousands of women, both
physically and mentally, each year. Rape can happen anytime, anywhere,
to anyone. All women are potential victims of rape-.
My office has prepared this booklet as a public service to women in
Houston. I hope that it will make them more conscious that they could be
raped so that they will guard against it. Also, because rape is traumatic,
knowledge of what to ask for, where to go for help, and what can be
expected will help rape victims to survive the trauma.
Therefore, I hope you will read this booklet from cover to cover so that
you do not become another rape victim. And if you are unfortunate
enough to have been given this book because you have been raped, I
hope it will help you to deal with the trauma and will point out the
necessity of reporting the crime to the police so that your assailant can be
caught, put behind bars and prevented from raping other women.
Mayor of the City of Houston
Same old thins
at the courthouse
At his regular Wednesday press conference last week, Mayor' Jim McConn appointed Fad Wilson to a judgeship on the
municipal bench. Wilson, a member of
the Black Organization for Leadership
Development became the ninth man and
the second Black to be appointed to the
The Women's Political Caucus had
endorsed Helen Cassidy to fill the vacant
judgeship. Cassidy graduated magna cum
laude from Bates School of Law in 1975,
where she was named Outstanding
Woman Law Student. While in school
she was named to the Order of Barons,
an honorary law society, and won a
writing award for her law review comment. Active in the women's movement,
Cassidy has been a member of the
National Board of NOW and was instru
mental in organizing and convening the
Harris County Women's Political Caucus.
With Wilson's appointment, Houston
now has two black judges, one Chicano,
and no women, out of a bench of nine.
Percentages alone raise the question of
why Houston has not had a woman
judge since Anne Green's resignation and
more pointedly, why McConn chose to
perpetuate the all male bench with this
Kathy Whitmire, city controller, has
stressed to HCWPC members that
McConn needs to hear from Houston
women on this issue. If area feminists
are not quick to respond to upcoming
vacancies, Houston will continue to be
saddled with an all-male municipal
On July 26,1978, the Houston Post printed
police department statistics showing that
the number of rapes reported in Houston
during the first six months of 1978 increased 33% over the same period in 1977,
the largest jump in any crime category.
To help women protect themselves
against attack and provide support for
women in the aftermath of rape, Marsha
Wayne, Executive Assistant to the Mayor,
has produced a free booklet titled How to
Avoid or Cope with Rape, the first page of
which is reproduced above. The project
was funded by the Women's Services Department, First City National Bank, Hazel
The first chapter, written by Linda
Cryer, Administrator of the Rape Treatment, Detection and Prevention Program
of the City Health Department, provides
useful, detailed suggestions for safety at
home, in the car and in public places.
(This information appeared in the December/January 1978 issue of Breakthrough.)
Also included are methods of foiling a
rapist in face-to-face confrontation.
The second section, prepared by Lt.
Larry Earls of the Rape Squad and Vic
Driscoll of the District Attorney's office,
describes current procedures of the police,
hospitals, and the District Attorney's
office in investigating a rape.
Wayne credited the Los Angeles County
Commission on the Status of Women and
their book, Rape Crisis; Your Rights, with
inspiring her project. "The chapter on the
emotional reaction to rape was transcribed
verbatim from their wonderful booklet,"
Every woman fears that she will become "another rape victim," as Mayor
Jim McConn puts it in his introduction.
But reading this booklet "from cover to
cover" as McConn suggests is not enough
to guarantee that no attack will occur.
McConn's statement implies that reducing *
the incidence of rape depends entirely on
the actions of the women threatened by
According to a study by the U.S. Justice Department's Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, the rape rate for
Houston in 1977 was 53.2 for each 100,000
of the general population. Since only half
of the general population are women and
thus targets for rape, the effective incidence of rape is twice as high. The projected rape rate for 1981 is 61 per 100,000 or
122 per 100,000 women. The LEAA study
states that this rate can be reduced by
"better collection of evidence by police,
increased prosecution efforts and public
education and rape prevention programs."
How to Avoid or Cope with Rape is a
worthy effort, but the Mayor's office and
the law enforcement officials must do
more than inform the victims for the rape
crisis in Houston to end.
♦Copies of the booklet are available free
of charge by calling 222-3141 or writing
to the Mayor's Office, P.O. Box 1562,
Houston, Texas 77001.
ERA extension passes;
Texas Senators fail
With the Senate's 60-36 vote in favor
of extending the deadline for ratification of the ERA, Congress completed
a landmark action and breathed new
life into the Equal Rights Amendment.
The October 6 vote gives ERA supporters a 39-month extension from
March 1979 to secure ratification of the
amendment. Two days earlier the Senate
voted down a proposal 54-44 to offer
states that have already voted for ratification an opportunity to rescind
their vote at a later date.
To the dismay of anti-ERA groups
such as Phyllis Schlafly's organization
"Stop ERA", ERA proponents now
have until June 30, 1982 to ensure the
amendment's enactment into law. A
disgruntled Schlafly called the extension
•tf "fraud" in a news conference, and
threatened to fight it all the way to the
Texas legislators' contributions to the
ERA victory were mixed. Both Tower
and Bentsen voted for the resicission
proposal in the October 4 Senate vote.
Two days later, Bentsen voted for the
ERA extension, while Tower was one of
four Senators absent during the extension vote.
With the legislative barriers behind,
ERA supporters are now preparing to
meet the difficult task of securing three
more states' ratification of the amendment. Congressional support has given
impetus to the ERA movement. What
remains is to preserve and accelerate
this new momentum for the work that