LaFASA Member Lamothe Law Firm fights against sexual assault and for survivors.
LaFASA is a purpose driven organization. However, it takes individuals in our communities to live the changes we want to see and create environments that nurture non-violence. Sometimes, as advocates, we find ourselves in a bubble when doing the work that compels us. This is not exclusive to sexual assault, it’s most purpose driven organizations. An outside perspective makes us better at doing our jobs. That’s one great reason to work with other organizations. It boosts our voices exponentially in promoting resources and options available to survivors.
One of our “LaFASA Members” is Lamothe Law Firm in New Orleans. Lamothe works with victims beyond the arms of LaFASA and are a driving force in standing up for survivors and changing erroneous public attitudes that don’t hold perpetrators responsible for sexual violence and blame survivors. We had a moment to talk with Lamothe and ask a few questions.
LaFASA: What motivates Lamothe to work with victims of sexual assault / harassment professionally and as an ally to LaFASA?
Lamothe: There is a compelling need for our society to give a voice to survivors of sexual violence. We must also seek ways to prevent sexual violence in our communities. Organizations like schools, youth clubs, churches, medical facilities, and businesses are in a powerful position to prevent sexual violence, yet too often they fail to take reasonable steps to do so.
We seek to hold organizations accountable when they enable sexual predators through their own negligence. In doing so, we encourage organizations to take more responsibility for creating protective environments free of sexual violence.
LaFASA: Looking at the opposite side of the coin (those who are in the decision making positions such as judges/juries/general public) do you still see an overall “victim blaming” mentality or do you feel attitudes are beginning to change? From your unique perspective, how much work does society still need to do to shift thoughts that victims of assault aren’t falsely accusing someone or lying?
Lamothe: Law enforcement agencies and the American public continue to look upon reports of sexual violence with undeserved skepticism. Most people we talk to are shocked to learn that methodologically rigorous research suggests that the actual percentage of false reports is between 2-8%.
The “victim blaming” mentality is also pervasive. We must challenge victim blaming and other rape myths in order to prevent further sexual violence. According to the CDC, communities that adhere to these harmful social norms have higher rates of sexual violence and abuse.
LaFASA: What do you feel is most important about building relationships with community members and nonprofit organizations, such as LaFASA?
Lamothe: Survivors of sexual violence deserve support from all sectors of our community, and by working together, we can better ensure that survivors have the best resources available to them. By sharing resources and coordinating efforts amongst organizations with a shared desire to prevent sexual violence and support survivors, we can begin to change school, workplace and societal environmental factors and make our community safer for all its members.
Whatever industry your business is, where you work and live, is your community. Working with those who solve problems in the community is the mark of an outstanding company. Financial giving is a necessity for support, however the benefits of working together go beyond writing a check. Real engagement is working in unison towards common goals. We are very fortunate to have member support, such as the Lamothe Law Firm. If you are interested in becoming a LaFASA Member, please check out our website for details. We look forward to an enhanced relationship with you.