Consultations at Saitama’s Super Arena Lead to Calls for a Special Government-Citizen Cooperation Office

Through the end of March, Saitama’s Super Arena functioned as a temporary shelter for residents from Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture. Based on their support activities at this site, the “Disaster Support Network” – a coalition of lawyers, legal specialists, and clinical psychologists – filed a request to the Saitama Prefectural Government for the creation of a special Government-Citizen Cooperation Office. (See this article in the Yomiuri Shimbun)

The Network reported that they received 1349 requests for consultations. Among these, there were also cases relating to the harassment of women, domestic violence, and the molestation of children.

The other day, I spoke over the phone with a staff member at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in the US. She shared with me some of her experiences from working as a coordinator for several organizations in New Orleans in the period after Hurricane Katrina.

This staff member told me how shocked she had been at the number of cases of sexual assault that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She warned that unless effective awareness-raising and prevention mechanisms were initiated in the disaster-affected areas, we would likely see similar numbers of cases here.

Health care providers will distribute our informational cards to the disaster-affected areas this week, and we’ll do a second printing immediately. As we are only able to move these activities forward with your support, we humbly request your continued support in providing relief to women and children in the affected areas. Thank you.