A resident of Freeport and the owner of Hilldale Deli, Sarah Raymond shared her visceral reaction to Alvin Wire’s sexist, misogynistic, and anti-female comments as a member of the County Board. Sarah was brave enough to also give us permission to share her story here with you.
Outside of close family and friends Sarah had never shared this with anyone before. Her determination to help combat the damage of Alvin Wire’s remarks moved her to take action. We know Sarah’s story is a story unfortunately shared silently by many. We hope that sharing her story will make others realize they are not alone and coming forward with these stories can have an impact on others. We hope her story moves the County Board and you to take action.
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Sarah Raymond’s Letter:
July 20th, 2020
To: County Board Chairman Bill Hadley, County Board Vice Chairman Samuel Newton, County Administrator Georgia Newcomer, Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller.
Dear County Board,
Today, I read an article that was published regarding the recent Stephenson County Board meeting that took place on July 8, 2020 and dictated the commentary that was given by your board member, Alvin Wire (Winslow) in regards to adding an “Enticement clause” as a subsection of the current personnel policy. In which Mr. Wire states “I would add enticement. Any dress or bodily actions which could entice
someone to commit any of the above actions”. At first, I thought this was a joke. A sick joke at that. Unfortunately, Mr. Wire was serious and indicated his feelings about this in an email reply to the author of the article that was published. “This skin is deliberately put on display for a purpose – to be looked at, because enticing and “admiring glance” gives the woman an ego boost”. Shortly following that sentence was, “if a woman deliberately exposes “skin” to be looked at, but, when looked at, can be declared sexual harassment, she is guilty of enticement”.
In my understanding of this article, a woman is responsible for the way a man reacts to her choice of out)ts. If the man finds the woman enticing, it is her fault. She is guilty. I am also unsure of if Mr. Wire knows the statistics about unreported Sexual Assaults – which in fact is roughly 2/3 of all assaults that occur, do not get reported. The main reason an assault does not get reported is because the woman feels like it was their fault. I am going to paint a picture for you. A young girl, high school age, attends a party wearing simply a tee shirt and jeans. She drinks some drinks and is having a good time. She is wearing “normal clothes”. That night the plain looking teenager, gets assaulted. She turns to someone, an adult, to help her. She is confused, scared, and doesn’t understand why this happened to her. That adult asked her what she was wearing, why she chose to wear v-neck tee shirt. That adult made that young woman feel as if being assaulted was her fault. The assault goes unreported because the young woman is made to feel shameful for her choice to attend a party in which boys
will be boys. That young woman grows up, gets married, has a child, and then gets divorced. She began to date again. Her worst fear occurred, she was assaulted once again, but this time she was wearing sweat pants and a tee shirt answering her door at 2 am to a guy that she had went out with a few times and had known for years. Guess what? That assault went unreported too. The reason – she shouldn’t have been so stupid and answered her own door for a person she had known for years. She was to blame for that. What if I told you that the young woman and then woman in her 30’s was me? I am Sarah Raymond, a two time sexual assault survivor. A successful business woman, a good mom, a good friend, and a person who blamed herself for this since she was 16 all because of individuals like Mr. Wire and their beliefs. Beliefs that are dangerous to bestow on others – boys are not just being boys. A person, regardless of gender should have the ability to wear whatever they chose to wear. If they want to wear a shirt that is low cut or a skirt that is short, let them. It does NOT give anyone the right to harass them, make nasty comments, or touch them.
I am writing this to you in hopes that you will see how Mr. Wire should not be serving our community in any capacity. This old school way of thinking will kill our community and not hold abusers accountable for their actions. If you decide that Mr. Wire should still remain on your board, you will be making a grave mistake. This will set our community back decades. Thank you for your time and consideration. I truly hope that you will see how dangerous Mr. Wire and his beliefs are for our community as a whole.