Your letters, June 26

June 25, 2013 

Fracking effects

While I commend the N.C. House for removing some elements of Senate Bill 76 that threatened the safety of our state’s water resources, I am still very dismayed. We haven’t concluded safety studies on the impact of hydraulic fracking and have not developed clear and enforceable safety regulations, so how we can possibly approve permits?

Each legislator has a duty to keep the state’s overall well-being at the forefront. Fracking creates potentially harmful health effects for our citizens and our agricultural industries along its entire life cycle. A basic list of necessary regulations includes full and complete disclosure and monitoring of the chemicals that are employed in the process, regulations that address the disposal of fracking wastewater, regulations that control the expulsion of methane and other air pollutants, regulations that hold the drilling company liable for contamination to aquifers, damages to adjacent land that is not under the drilling company’s contract, and damages from 24/7 truck traffic.

We need to keep the people’s best interests at the center of decision making and stop SB 76. Fortunately, elections occur regularly, and our legislators can count on our paying very careful attention to how this very important issue is dealt with.

Kathleen Hoffmann

Mebane

Reckless’ legislation

The Road Worrier’s story about raising the speed limit on some highways to 75 mph ("Speed-loving legislators want 75 mph limit" June 18) provides ample cause for worry.

I drive the speed limit (or a little over) when it’s posted at 70 mph, but car after car passes me. Today, the de facto speed limit exceeds 75 mph with many drivers going more than 80.

Increasing the posted speed limit will encourage even more aggressive, coercive driving with the likely result of increasing numbers of accidents, injuries and deaths.

Sen. Neal Hunt’s proposed legislation is plain reckless.

Paul Betz

Chapel Hill

GLBT awareness

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Month takes place in June to emphasize the issues that affect the peoples of the GLBT community.

Members of GLBT community often face discrimination at the hands of community members and service providers, and the Durham Crisis Response Center is committed to putting an end to that senseless discrimination.

We are proud that our agency serves all victims of domestic and sexual violence regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, disabilities, socioeconomic status and the like. We understand that everyone is affected by violence and our services must be open and available to all.

With one in four women and one in seven men experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime, it is only logical to assume that these numbers include members of the GLBT community. However, domestic violence manifests itself differently in the GLBT population, which creates its own set of challenges and barriers when accessing support and services.

The threat of outing is a huge hurdle victims may face. Outing can be used as a tool to control a victim who is closeted and can prevent them from seeking support and services. Some members of the GLBT community may feel that reporting abuse can lead to stigmatization and rejection. For example, in 29 states, an employer has the right to fire someone for being gay.

In the case of children of same-sex couples, the threat of losing one’s child is more of a risk than in heterosexual relationships. In many states, a person who is not the biological parent of child has no legal protection or legal claim to the child, even if they have been helping to raise that child for years. An abuser may threaten to take away the children or the non-biological parent can be charged with kidnapping if they choose to flee with the children.

Abuse in same-sex couples is often treated as less severe and services are limited. Additionally, most domestic violence shelters are for women only and often operate under the assumption that the victim is in heterosexual relationship. This fact often results in gay men, lesbians and transgender people refusing shelter services.

Barriers and stigmas associated with being a member GLBT community, coupled with the barriers and stigmas associated with being a victim of abuse make reaching out for service and support difficult for victims. However, the more we educate ourselves and our community about tolerance and awareness the better we can serve all victims.

Kandace Watkins

Community outreach educator

Durham Crisis Response Center

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