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Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Happy New Year from RCASA! Donate Today and Help a Sexual Assault Victim.

In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 31, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Here at Rcasa, we are looking forward to a new year full of hope, health and healing for the victims of sexual assault. Today, we have received $875.00 in donations towards assisting victims of sexual assault.

The following is a cost analysis for services:

  • It takes aproximately $376.00 to cover the cost of hospital accompaniment during the forensic exam and crisis counseling,
  • it costs and additional $155 for court accompaniment and transition services for the victim,
  • For a client to pursue counseling beyond the crisis through longer-term or specialized trauma therapy, it costs on average $1200 per person for three months.  

Making a tax free contribution to the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault enables us to continue to provide much needed assistance to victims in crisis. There is still time to donate today for your 2009 charitable contributinos.  Won’t you please help in the life of one man or woman with your tax free contribution of any amount?  You can donate online at www.rcasa.org and we can send you a receipt for your records. 

Blessings and Happy New Year to all!

RCASA’s Art Therapy Thursday: Related Reading

In Art therapy, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 31, 2009 at 9:00 am

Book Recommendations and Well Wishes for the New Year!

 If you are looking for last minute gift ideas (or ways to use those Borders/Amazon gift certificates!) that are related to this blog, here are some book recommendations for the new year:

 Books related to the brain and/or trauma:

 A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon

  •  This book details in non-clinical language the amazing science of love, attachment, and even intuition.  The authors comment about the impact of love on development, from the growth of an individual to that of a society.  A very fascinating and important read.

 The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog (and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook) by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz

  •  This book is as much riveting as it is heart-wrenching.  It is hard to put down because of it’s dually well-crafted and intense nature.  At the same time, it clearly presents how the brain is impacted in traumatic events and how the power of human relationships may provide healing.  Reading this is immensely helpful to understanding trauma.

 Meaningful Stories

Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

  • Provides an excellent collection of short stories that spur meaningful conversation, thought, and art.  She also has a collection entitled My Grandfather’s Blessings, which similarly provides quick and delectable reading for those who prefer or need quicker chapters.

 

Happy Reading!

On a more personal note, recently my neighborhood acquired about two feet of snow, creating a fresh white canvas for the playful and the creative.  I made sure to indulge in this free gift, in many forms.  My hope for you is to give yourself permission to play and to create during this new year.  To allow your yourself the time and space to expressively exist.  To embrace the free gifts that arrive with each day. To keep your hearts and minds open, even to the free gifts within yourself.

 Peace to you,

Kelly

RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach with Corey: Sexting

In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 30, 2009 at 9:00 am

It is time to talk about sexting.

 Sexting is a combination of the words, sex and texting. It is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between mobile phones.

 Why is sexting so important to talk about?

 It is going on in our community and negatively impacting our kids.

 The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, about 22 percent of teenage girls and 18 percent of boys admit to having “electronically sent, or posted online, nude or seminude pictures or video of themselves.”

I can tell you as a person who goes out and talks with teens about sexual assault, sexual harassment, healthy relationships, etc, that sexting is alive and growing here in the Rappahannock area.

 Sexting opens doors for predators

 Anthony R. Stancl, is charged with setting up fake profiles on Facebook to dupe 31 male classmates, some as young as 15, into sending him nude photographs of themselves. He led them to believe they were sending the photos to a flirtatious young girl who would reciprocate by sending them naked pictures of herself. He then threatened to release the photos to the victims’ friends or even all of their schools- 850 students- if the youths who had sent them to him did not agree to perform the sexual acts he subsequently demanded. The tactic was successful, officials said. Mr. Stancl is accused of using it to sexually assault seven boys.

 Sexting can have devastating emotional effects.

 I used to tell teens that they should never post or send anything they would not want their mom or dad to see. I have learned though, to help them truly understand the possible outcomes of sexting, they should never post or send anything they would never want their arch enemy to get ahold of! These text and photos are so easy to copy, manipulate, and spread!

 For example, 18 year old Jesse Logan and her boyfriend broke up and he decided to share the private pictures with other teen girls. The girls then started calling Jesse names such as slut and whore. The pressure was too much for Jesse and she took her own life, she committed suicide by hanging herself.

 Sexting is illegal.

 Creating, transmitting, and even possessing a nude, seminude, or sexually explicit image of a minor can be considered child pornography. It can be prosecuted as a state or federal felony and can even lead to a person having to register as a sex offender. I am not going to debate the laws here; I just want to make sure we have a clear understanding that sexting is not just some silly thing kids do that we should laugh off as “kids being kids.” There are very serious repercussions.

  •  In Spotsylvania county two teen boys were charged with  electronic solicitation and possession of child pornography with intent to distribute. The teens were said to have solicited the photos from middle and high school students.

 

  • Four students at Staunton River High School in Bedford County Virginia faced criminal charges after an investigation uncovered nude cell phone photographs of minors. All four teens were charged with misdemeanors related to obscenity offenses, one of them is also charged with a felony.

 

  • An Assistant Principal at Freedom High School in Loudoun County Virginia  was arrested for child pornography he had as a result of investigating sexting in his school. He was later vindicated, but only after the ruination of his career, reputation, and finances.

 The bottom line is that sexting is a very dangerous thing for kids to be involved in. Parents, TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEXTING!  Make sure you are aware of their activities online and on the phone. Kids do not automatically think of all the possible consequences of their actions, so it is up to us to make them aware of them.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Traci: “In-Between” Times

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2009 at 10:06 am

Sometimes, to get from where we are to where we are going, we have to be willing to be in-between.

One of the hardest parts of growing in our healing is the concept of letting go of what is old and familiar, but what we don’t want, and being willing to stand with our hands empty while we wait for our Higher Power to fill them.

This may apply to feelings. We may have been full of hurt and anger. In some ways, these feelings may have become comfortably familiar. When we finally face and relinquish our grief, we may feel empty for a time. We are in between pain and the joy of serenity and acceptance.

Being in-between can apply to relationships. To prepare ourselves for the new, we first need to let go of the old. This can be frightening. We may feel empty and lost for a time. We may feel all alone, wondering what is wrong with us for letting go of the proverbial bird-in-hand, when there is nothing in the bush.

Being in-between can apply to many areas of life and recovery. We can be in between jobs, careers, homes, or goals. We can be in between behaviors as we let go of the old and are not certain what we will replace it with. This can apply to behaviors that have protected and served us well all of our life, such as caretaking and controlling.

We may have many feelings going on when we are in-between: moments of grief about what we have let go or lost, and feelings of anxiety, fear, and apprehension about what’s ahead. These are normal feelings for the in-between place. Accept them. Feel them. release them.

Being in-between isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. It will not last forever. It may feel like we are standing still, but we’re not. We are standing at the in-between place. It’s how we get from here to there. It’s not the destination.

We are moving forward, even when we’re in-between.

RCASA-Pero él jamás me pegó

In Sexual Assault Awareness on December 28, 2009 at 9:40 am

Este folleto lo ofrece “Virginians Against Domestic Violence”(Los ciudadanos de Virginia contra la Violencia Domestica) con fondos del Departamento de Servicios Sociales de Virginia.

¿qué es violencia domestica?
La violencia domestica es cuando un miembro de la familia u hogar, novio o novia, amigo/a de una relación previa, u otro pariente agrede o amenaza a otro miembro de la misma familia u hogar. El ejercer poder y control es el objetivo de la violencia domestica.

¿así que la violencia domestica es sólo dar golpes?
No. El maltrato es siempre maltrato. El maltrato emocional puede formar la mayor parte de la violencia domestica. El maltrato emocional usualmente incluy é una persona que hace o dice cosas constantemente para deshonrar, insultar, molestar, avergonzar, rebajar, o herir mentalmente y aislar a otra persona.

el maltrato emocional entre otras cosas incluyé:
crítica constante . . . manipulación por medio de amenazas . . . humillación . . . insultos … avergonzar o otro . . . guerra sicológica . . . aislamiento . . . terminar con las redes de apoyo . . . controlar el dinero suyo . . . secuestro . . . lavado de cerebro . . . usar el silencio como castigo . . . hacer caso omiso de sus sentimientos.

¿cómo me afecta el maltrato emocional?
La persona que la maltrata emocionalmente está tratando de controlarla de alguna manera. Están tratando de impedir que usted tenga ningún poder o control en su propia vida. Una vez que la persona que maltrata no logra controlarla con palabras es probable que acuda a la violencia física para mantener ese poder sobre su víctima.

La persona que maltrata a otros se vale de muchas tácticas para dominar a la otra.

Como resultado puede sentirse:
*Temerosa

*Cansada 

* Aislada de otros

*Con muy poca autoestima

*Que depende de otra persona

*Loca

*Con pérdida de apetito

* Tensa o ansiosa

* Emocionalmente fatigada

*Físicamente fatigada

Algunos de los síntomas arriba mencionados pueden afectarla también físicamente. Deben reconocerse como las graves fallas de salud que son en realidad.

¿por qué me tratan así?
Todo maltrato es un acto de violencia de una persona contra otra. La necesidad de ejercer poder y control hace que una persona maltrate a otra. La causa del maltrato no es un exceso de presión. El alcohol tampoco es la causa del maltrato. Y usted no causa el maltrato.

En el pasado los que han maltratado a otros han podido lograr lo que desean precisamente por medio del maltrato. La ira que sienten es intensa, impredecible, e irracional, pero recuerde:

*Uno no puede cambiar a la persona que maltrata – tiene que cambiar por sí misma

*Usted no es la responsable por la ira de quien maltrata

Usted no puede predecir el comportamiento de quien la maltrata
La ira y el maltrato solo empeorarán con el tiempo

¿por qué me quedo?

Tal vez sienta usted que por razones de familia o de la comunidad deba quedarse en esta relación en que la maltratan. Tal vez trate usted de cambiar su propio comportamiento para que no la maltraten pero esto no funciona siempre. Puede ser que usted tenga una o mil razones para quedarse… incluso que usted todavía ame a la persona.

¿qué puedo hacer?

Debe comprender que el maltrato no es culpa suya. Nadie merece que lo maltraten emocionalmente ni de ninguna otra manera. Busque apoyo hablando con otras personas que usted crea que pueden prestarle atención. Si no hay ningún peligro en hacerlo hable con la familia, los amigos, consejeros religiosos, asesores u otros miembros de su comunidad.

Comuníquese con su programa local de Violencia Domestica (Domestic Violence). La violencia domestica es algo más que la simple violencia física. Ellos pueden ofrecerle ayuda individual y también relacionarla con diferentes grupos de apoyo.

*usted no está sola

*Existe ayuda para usted o para cualquier persona conocida suya que sufra en una relación de maltrato emocional.

Para más información, llame a la línea de ayuda estatal del Virginia para Violencia en la Familia y Agresión Sexual (Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault) al 1.800.838.8238 o a uno de los recursos que se encuentran anotados al final de este folleto.

algunos datos:

* A menudo el maltrato emocional se disfraza de manera de “enseñarle a usted a ser una persona mejor.”

*Muchos expertos creen que el maltrato emocional puede tener efectos más permanentes que el maltrato físico.

*El maltrato emocional a menudo causa mala salud, especialmente interrupción del sueño.

*El maltrato emocional afecta también a los niños.

*Las personas que maltratan tratan de disculparse diciendo “Perdí el control.” Pero el maltrato emocional realmente es su manera de controlar a la otra persona.

*El objetivo del maltrato emocional es destruir la autoestima y el respeto de sí misma de la víctima.

RCASA’s Sunday Book/Article Review: SMART

In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

Article Review:  SMART by Tanya Singleton

Victims of sexual assault present with many signs and symptoms of traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, panic disorders, to name a few.  Below is the review of a treatment modality which can easily be adapted to minister to anyone suffering from a traumatic experience.

A holistic approach to the treatment of clients suffering from PTSD has been utilized by Chan, Chan and Ng (2006), tested in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic in China.  This program was called the Strength-Focused and Meaning-Oriented Approach to Resilience and Transformation (SMART) approach to trauma management.  This group incorporated Eastern spiritual teachings, expressive therapy, and yoga, meditation, and psychoeducational techniques to promote dynamic coping skills among its clientele.  Compared to conventional trauma management, which the authors describe as:

a pathology-based framework . . . geared toward the removal of symptoms and the revival of functioning to a pre-crisis level . . . and . . . . has become an endeavor of reaching down and salvaging vulnerable people from all sorts of personal predicaments and social injustices.  The key objectives are to identify vulnerabilities and to apply remedial patchwork. (p. 11-12)

The holistic approach, instead, recognizes trauma as an opportunity to guide an individual towards transformation.  Posttraumatic growth can facilitate positive changes in life perspective, interpersonal relationships, and the self.

This approach is time-limited, accomplished in a six-week series, and attempts to foster growth in persons experiencing a crisis.  The SMART intervention is built on the principle that “the mind and body constitutes the synthetic whole of a person . . . physical components that can bring about emotional change . . . to heal is to strengthen the patient’s entire bodily system by restoring the balance” (p. 19-20).

Many components of the SMART intervention are in keeping with a Spiritual philosophy, which will be supported in the following section of this paper.  Three aspects of the intervention are (1) exploring alternative meanings through spiritual teaching, which include teachings on suffering, unpredictability, karma, and perseverance; (2) building strengths through physical expression, and (3) consolidating new meanings and strengths through psycho-education.  Approaching spirituality in a non-religious  way asks the questions “why me, why do bad things happen to good people, and what is the purpose of suffering?”  The above listed  Eastern approaches that mirror Christian ones have to do with unpredictability, which is answered Scripturally by Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you , declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”; and perseverance – “. . .let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance  the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1).

The three aspects are addressed through the following strategies; (1) emphasizing growth through pain, (2) teaching the mind-body-spirit connection, (3) developing an appreciation of nature, (4) facilitating cognitive re-appraisal, (5), nourishing social support, and (6) promoting the compassionate helper principle.  The outcome of utilizing the SMART approach demonstrated an increase in social commitment, mastery of life, and learning and growth in the adolescent population studied. 

Chan, C. , Chan T., & Ng, S. (2006). The strength-focused and meaning-oriented approach to resilience and transformation (SMART): A body-mind-spirit approach to trauma   management.   International Social Health Care Policy, Programs, and Studies , 9-35.

RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach with Corey:Choose Respect

In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 23, 2009 at 9:00 am

Okay, this week I am all wound up! Our application/ plan of action was chosen by the VA Department of Health and we have been awarded funds to start a new teen dating violence prevention project in our community. We will be offering the “Choose Respect” curriculum to as many faith based youth groups in our community as possible.

 It will start with a kick off event in January. We will gather as many youth group leaders as possible to learn about the Choose Respect program. We will be offering the training, learning materials, activities, and technical assistance to any and all faith based organizations. Two lucky organizations will have our own RCASA outreach and education team come and facilitate activities and programming with the teens, parents, and leaders of their particular organization. We will of course be able to fuse the values of the faith community with the values of respect and healthy relationships of the curriculum.

 Choose Respect Overview- From the Choose Repect Press Kit

Choose Respect is an initiative to help youth form healthy relationships to prevent dating abuse before it starts. This national effort is designed to motivate youth to challenge harmful beliefs about dating abuse and take steps to form respectful relationships.

The Need

Unhealthy relationship behaviors can start early and last a lifetime. According to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 11 youth reports being a victim of physical dating abuse. Even more startling, youth who report experiencing dating abuse are also more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity.

The Goal

Choose Respect is designed to encourage positive action on the part of youth to form healthy, respectful relationships. Research for the initiative shows most youth have positive, healthy attitudes about their relationships with others. Choose Respect seeks to reinforce and sustain these positive attitudes among youth as they get older and begin to enter dating relationships by:

Providing effective messages for youth, parents, caregivers, and teachers that encourage them to establish healthy and respectful relationships.

Creating opportunities for youth and communities to support healthy and respectful relationships.

The Audience

Choose Respect reaches out to youth ages 11–14 because they’re still forming attitudes and beliefs that will affect how they are treated and how they treat others. The initiative also connects with parents, teachers, youth leaders, and other supportive adults who influence the lives of youth.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Traci: Freedom To Be All That We Wish To Be

In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

Freedom is more than a condition that exists for us in the physical world. It is an internal condition as well. Freedom is the essence of our being. The word freedom implies our right to choose what works best for us, to choose who we want to be.

How wonderful that, no matter our circumstances, we are free to define ourselves as we see fit. We are free to change and grow. We are free to release those things in our lives for which we no longer have use, or have outgrown. We are free to adopt any life-enhancing attitude or behavoir that we desire. We are free to act on our own behalf, to set boundaries, to receive love in the way we choose to. Most importantly, we are free to love ourselves as we walk through our own unique life journeys. There are no limitations on where we will arrive- only those we set for ourselves.

A life well lived is about freedom from the bondage of our past–from past messages or actions that once did us harm, or from our own behavoirs and beliefs that have kept us trapped in a “victim mentality.” How we view ourselves is our choice.

Today we are free not only to survive, but also to thrive. We are free to grow, to pick ourselves up when we stumble, to help others along the way. We are free to “grow where we are planted,” no matter where that might be.

Today, no matter where we are in our journey, we are finally free to love ourselves. It is our right. We are good enough.

Remind yourself today that you are free to grow both spiritually and intellectually. We are works in progress. We do not allow circumstances to stand in our way. Today is the day to claim the freedom to be your best and to do your best in accomplishing your heart’s desire.  Ask yourself, What do I most wish for? What do I want to do? In a life without limitations, what is my greatest desire?  Then claim this desire.

Know that, despite the situations in your life, you hold a unique place in the universe- the greatest gift you can give yourself is to claim this place in the universe.  Stretch out your arms- embrace the freedom that is divinely yours!

RCASA’s Sunday Book/Article Review: Rape Victims Offer Advice to Today’s College Women

In Sexual Assault Awareness on December 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

 

 The following CNN online article caught my eye last week as I was surfing for recent information regarding sexual assault on campuses across the US.  In reading the article I was reminded, once again, just how difficult making the adjustments to college life can be.  As a parent who years ago, took my own children on college tours, safety was an important component of the college experience I wanted for my child.  We were focused on the educational and recreational facilities and not as concerned about interpersonal violence.  Now that I have been working with college students who are victims of sexual assault, I see how prevalent sexual assault is and the low level of recognition it receives by campus police, staff, and faculty.  Many victims to do not report their assaults because they fear secondary charges of underage drinking should charges against the perpetrator be “unfounded”. 

One of the biggest issues addressing female sexual assault that faculty and administrators can do comes from the feminist perspective.   Much of the curriculum for all areas of study, whether from the arts or the sciences, do not require any type of women’s studies as a basic college requirement.  Because of the patriarchal structure of US colleges and universities, women’s issues are often ignored unless part of a women’s studies major or minor.  Faculty and administrators need to begin to address women’s issues of inequality in post-secondary education as one small step to reduce the elevated rates of sexual assault on our campuses. 

 

 Rape Victims Offer Advice to Today’s College Women

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

December 15, 2009 3:56 p.m. EST

A student spoke out about being raped in her dorm room and was both confused and let down by her school’s actions.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Study: 1 in 5 college women victim of a rape or an attempt, but only 5 percent report crimes
  • A Center for Public Integrity investigation shows schools often fail victims
  • Problem is lack of coordination and understanding of sexual assaults, experts say
  • Trust less and, if assaulted, find adult to protect your interests, former victims say

(CNN) — If you are already in college or headed there, sit down. If you’re the parent or friend of a student, listen up.

One in five college women will be raped, or experience an attempted rape, before graduation. Less than 5 percent will report these crimes to officials on or off campus, and, when they do, there’s a good chance the system will let them down.

A handful of former students who spoke out and reported rapes at their schools told CNN they didn’t feel protected by their universites. They were initially interviewed as part of an investigative series by the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit that says it seeks to make institutions more transparent and accountable.

The women welcomed the chance to share their experiences and offer advice to students today.

“I was too young, still in too much shock and too emotionally gone to make decisions on my own,” said a woman who, as a freshman, reported a rape in 2001. “I needed an adult I trusted. The school did not provide such a person.”

Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem. … They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on.
–Kristen Lombardi, Center for Public Integrity

The shocking statistics of rape and attempted rape on campus came to light in a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice nine years ago. But the recently released series published by the Washington center shows that while federal law requires schools to act on sexual assault allegations and look out for the rights of victims, many higher-education institutions aren’t making the grade.

“Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem,” said Kristen Lombardi, the center’s lead reporter for Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice. She pointed to a “culture of silence” and said critics say, “The biggest sin is one of omission. They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on in a public manner with their student bodies.”

Over the course of nine months, Lombardi and her colleagues spoke to 33 women who’d reported rapes, interviewed about 50 experts and surveyed more than 150 crisis clinics and programs on or near campuses. They also reviewed cases and combed through 10 years of complaints against institutions that had been filed with the Department of Education.

The alleged rape victims and others shared stories of secretive hearings, administrators who encouraged students to drop complaints and failures to sufficiently pursue the accusations and seek punishments when warranted. Others spoke of gag orders, confidential mediations where women sat across from their attackers and feelings of being revictimized at the institutions they thought would help them.

I was too young, still in too much shock and too emotionally gone to make decisions on my own. I needed an adult I trusted.
–Student rape victim, 2001

Many said administrators appeared more concerned with protecting their employer, or the school’s reputation, than they were with protecting students. A number of women ended up leaving their universities. One student in the investigative series was written about posthumously, after killing herself.

Part of the problem stems from ignorance, said S. Daniel Carter, the director of public policy for Security on Campus, a national organization committed to advancing safety for students.

For one, he said acquaintance rapes, which dominate campus assaults, are often wrongly dismissed as “misunderstandings.” And lack of coordination when it comes to responses isn’t helped by the fact that too few school officials are trained to understand the impact of sexual assaults.

“People are going to do the best they can, but they only have limited knowledge based on their profession,” said Connie Kirkland of George Mason University in Virginia, a school that’s emerged as a model for others.

Kirkland, the school’s director of sexual assault services, has held this position since the office was established in 1993, making it among the first of its kind. She said the university jumped to action soon after then-Gov. Douglas Wilder issued in 1992 recommendations regarding campus sexual assaults. And while other Virginia schools made efforts early on, Kirkland said that when Wilder left office in 1994, most schools folded their programs.

I wish I’d been less trusting of my surroundings. … In college, you feel as if you are invincible.
–Sexually assaulted student, 2007

Meantime, budgetary woes at schools across the country mean the programs that do exist often come and go, she added.

Kirkland said nothing serves victims better than having a clear point of contact on campus, an office and professionals who are trained — and can train others — to understand all aspects of these sexual assault crimes, including legal options, the psychological toll and health concerns.

A compassionate and well-meaning professor, administrator or residential adviser, for example, may listen, but they can’t be expected to provide full-fledged therapy or tell a student what it means to file a police report or go to court, she said. And a therapist can’t offer legal navigation any better than a law enforcement officer can be responsible for emotional processing.

The women who spoke to CNN described what they would have done differently if they’d known then what they know now. In general practice, CNN does not name sexual assault victims. Here, in their own words, is their advice:

Feeling invincible, an age of denial and disbelief

“I wish I’d been less trusting of my surroundings,” said a woman who said she was assaulted as a sophomore in 2007. “In college, you feel as if you are invincible, when in reality, trouble could be hiding behind the façade of a casual get-together or a party where you feel completely safe. Always keep control of yourself and your surroundings, and keep a close eye out for your friends as well.

“And if you are a friend of a person who has been assaulted, all I can say is that though it might be hard, please listen and support that person,” continued the former student, who said she was “met with a response that I never expected — laughter and disbelief. Because of that, I kept silent until my attacker assaulted a friend of mine almost a year later.”

Said another rape victim: “Do not binge drink or leave drinks unattended.”

Reaching out elsewhere, protecting your interests

“I wish I’d told my parents sooner,” said a woman who reported a campus rape that happened in her dorm room in 2003. “My parents now know about it, but when it initially happened, they did not. I was just so ashamed.

It is important to know all of your options after you are assaulted so you can choose how to overcome this.
–College gang-rape victim, 2001

“You’re too inhibited to make rational decisions, to understand emotionally what’s going on,” she added. “Whether it’s outside counsel, law enforcement, a friend or a parent, do not rely on the university to serve your best interests. And don’t sign anything.”

Seeking out professionals who understand

“Get help from a professional as soon as possible. I spoke with a counselor at Victim’s Assistance a few days after my assault, and that was crucial in helping me overcome this. There are a lot of different emotions after you are assaulted, and speaking with someone who really understands sexual assault is imperative,” said a woman who reported a gang rape by athletes in 2001 when she was a sophomore.

Furthermore, she said, “Family members and friends are also victims when this happens to someone they care about. The technical term is ‘secondary survivors.’ Sometimes it is difficult for them to deal with their own emotions and still be supportive to the primary survivor. Secondary survivors should not be afraid to get professional help, or to speak with a counselor about their own feelings. That way, they are not projecting their emotions onto the primary survivor. Seeking professional help also gives you options, and it is important to know all of your options after you are assaulted so you can choose how to overcome this.”

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Alcohol And Other Drugs In Sexual Assault

In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on December 18, 2009 at 9:38 am

Alcohol and Other Drugs in Sexual Assault

  • Most sexual assaults of young adults and teens involve alcohol or drugs– with the offender or the victim being under the influence. Some offenders give alcohol or drugs to their intended victim in order to take advantage of them later.
  • “Drugging” someone for the purpose of having sex with them is illeagal and considered rape in most states. This includes if someone puts a drug or alcohol into a drink or food without the victim’s knowledge.
  • Common “date rape drugs” include: Rohypnol (known as “roofies”); GBH (known as “G” or “easy lay”); and Ketamine (known as “special K” or “Bump”). Many of these drugs are colorless and odorless when put into a drink and they cause the person to pass out and not remember what happened.
  • Even if the victim willingly used alcohol or drugs, she/he did NOT deserve to be raped. Using an excessive amount of alcohol can lead to “black outs” or passing out– where the victim will not remember all or part of the assault.

What are some signs someone has been a victim of a date rape drug?

  • Suddenly and unexpectedly becoming very tired or drowsy.
  • Feeling very jittery or nervous for no reason (increased heart rate).
  • Having hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there).
  • Suddenly getting sick or throwing up soon after having a drink of any kind.
  • Not being able to remember pieces of time from the day or night before.
  • Waking up and not rememkbering what happened hours earlier.

The only way to know for certain if someone was drugged is to be tested. Usually this involves a blood or urine test taken at a doctor’s office or a hospital emergency department soon after the assault (within 12 hours is the preferred time to detect most drugs.) The police or rape crisis program can provide more information about testing and reporting a suspected assault.

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