Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 8th, 2010

Walking in her shoes to fight sexual assault

Sexual assault is a difficult crime to discuss or understand. Lives are literally destroyed when such a demoralizing offense occurs.

In Sullivan County one organization has always been there to assist and comfort those victims who have undergone such a traumatic and dreadful experience, RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education). This highly respected program of intervention and counseling unfortunately is underfunded and needs money to survive.

RISE almost closed its doors last year. Thanks to the grassroots efforts of Thompson Councilman Richard Sush, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and CRMC saved the program.

I cannot begin to tell you how vital it is for programs like RISE to survive.

The past several months have been one of the most difficult and tragic periods in my life. I have kept this story out of the media for various reasons, but in an effort to draw attention to programs such as RISE, I must share it with you.

Many people see me around Sullivan County caring for my functionally disabled cousin Iris, what they do not know is that I also have a 62-year-old severally and profoundly disabled sister who resides in a group home in Orange County. She was placed there when Letchworth Village closed.

Paula has a functional level of a two year old. All I ever wanted was for her to be safe, secure, and content.

Last December, I received a telephone call that Paula was brought to Arden Hill Hospital by her day program because they noticed black and blue marks on her thighs and blood spots on her diaper. They asked for my consent to transfer her to Horton Hospital’s sex crime unit to do an internal.

I immediately raced to the hospital where police investigators were standing outside her room. I found Paula on a stretcher with three women next to her. I turned white like a ghost as my heart sunk to my stomach.

I was devastated, shocked, and raged as I looked at my sweet innocent sister and the horrific black and blue marks.

The women were thankful I arrived as Paula was uncooperative despite being given high doses of tranquilizers.

I held Paula and lifted her as they conducted the extensive examination. With tears in all of our eyes, the worst of our fears materialized. The exam proved trauma in several places in her vagina. I thanked God my parents were not alive to witness this. Paula was sexually assaulted.

I cannot begin to tell you what the past several months have been like. The police investigation is ongoing, staff has been suspended, and cameras have been installed.

Paula’s life will never be the same and neither will mine. I have since been on a mission to make certain our most vulnerable are protected.

On Saturday October 16, RISE will be holding a fundraising event called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” on the grounds of CRMC.

Sexual assault in Sullivan County is on an increase, and we cannot afford to lose RISE. Please call 845-794-3300, ext 2442, and donate all you can.

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