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RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach: Safe Dates

In Advocacy, Outreach on March 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

RCASA is implementing the Safe Dates curriculum in several local middle and high schools and youth serving agencies.  Safe Dates is the only evidence-based curriculum that prevents dating abuse: a factor often linked to alcohol and other drug use.

Highly engaging and interactive, Safe Dates helps teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive dating relationships. Designated as a Model Program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2006, Safe Dates was selected for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), and received high ratings on all criteria.

Safe Dates can be used as a dating abuse prevention tool for both male and female middle- and high-school students. Safe Dates would fit well within a health education, family life skills, or general life skills curriculum. The goals of this program are ;

  • To raise student awareness of what constitutes healthy and abusive dating
    relationships.
  • To raise student awareness of dating abuse and its causes and consequences.
  • To equip students with the skills and resources to help themselves or friends in abusive dating relationships.
  • To equip students with the skills to develop healthy dating relationships, including positive communication, anger management, and conflict resolution

Safe Dates is an evidence-based program with strong, long-term outcomes. It was the subject of substantial formative research in fourteen public schools in North Carolina using a rigorous experimental design. The program was found to be effective in both preventing and reducing perpetration among teens already using violence against their dates.

Adolescents participating in the program, as compared with those who did not participate, also reported:

  • less acceptance of dating violence
  • stronger communication and anger management skills
  • less gender stereotyping
  • greater awareness of community services for dating abuse

Researchers studied the same group of students four years after implementation and found that students who participated in the Safe Dates program reported 56 percent to 92 percent less physical, serious physical, and sexual dating violence victimization and perpetration than teens who did not participate in Safe Dates. The program has been found to be equally effective for males and females and for whites and non-whites.

For more information about this program and other prevention programs contact RCASA’s Outreach and Prevention Coordinator at 540.371.6771.

RCASA’s Tuesday’s with Traci: Experiment

In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on March 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

Experiment. Try something new. Try stepping out.

We have been held back too long. We have held ourselves back too long.

As children, many of us were deprived of the right to experiment. Many of us are depriving ourselves of the right to experiment and learn as adults.

Now is the time to experiment. It is an important part of recovering. Let yourself try things. Let yourself try something new. Yes, you will make mistakes. But from those mistakes, you can tell what your values are.

Some things we just won’t like. That’s good. Then we’ll know a little more about who we are and what we don’t like.

Some things we will like. Those things will work with our values. They will work with who we are, and we will discover something important and life-enriching.

There is a quiet time in recovery, a time to stand still and heal, a time to give ourselves a cooling-off time. This is a time of introspection and healing. It is an important time. We deal with our issues.

There is also a time when it is equally important to experiment, to begin to “test the water.”

Recovery does not equal abstention from life. Recovery means learning to live and learning to live fully. Recovery means exploration, investigation, experimentation.

Recovery means being done with rigid, shame-based rules from the past, and formulating healthy values based on self-love, love for others, and living in harmony with this world.

Experiment. Try something new. Maybe you won’t like it, and maybe you’ll discover something you love.

Más mitos acerca de la violencia sexual

In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on March 29, 2010 at 8:21 am

Mitos acerca de la violencia sexual

Los mitos acerca de la violencia sexual pueden hacer mucho más difícil el hecho de que nosotros los Hispanos/Latinos tratemos de buscar y recibir servicios apropiados si sufrimos de algún tipo de violación sexual.  Podemos temer el hecho de ser vistos como estereotipos negativos en base a estos mitos , o probablemente en lo interior sientamos que esto es cierto, que nuestra conducta a conllevado a sufrir de todo esto; por lo tanto sentimos que no merecemos o no debemos de tratar de acceder a estos servicios. 

Para las personas que trabajamos con estos casos no es muy importante entender estos mitos y conocer más de fondo la cultura con todos sus temores para poder proveer los servicios adecuados.

MITO: Todos los Hispanos/Latinos son indocumentados y estan en los Estados Unidos ilegalmente.

REALIDAD: Muchos Hispanos/Latinos son ciudadanos Americanos, cuyas familias han vivido aquí por generaciones; otros inmigrarón aquí legalmente.  Cualquiera que sea la situación, las víctimas de una o varias violaciones sexuales merecen ser apoyadas y merecen acceder todos estos servicios.  Lamentablemente, existen casos cuando el estado migratorio de una víctima se cuestiona por falta de conocimiento y como resultado esta víctima no recibe la ayuda adecuada.  Es muy importante proveer a todos las víctimas y sobrevivientes de asalto sexual con la información adecuada, brindándoles todas las opciones relacionadas a su caso y dejarles determinar por su propia cuenta el major paso a tomar.

MITO: Todos los Hispanos/Latinos hablan el mismo idioma , así es que cualquier Intérprete o Traductor puede proveer servicios de interpretación.

REALIDAD: Cómo intérprete del idioma español, puedo corrobar esto.  No es apropiado asumir que todos los Hispanos/Latinos hablan Español, o el mismo tipo de idioma Español.  De hecho, existen muchas personas qué emigran de areas rurales e indígenas tanto de Centro América como de Sur América, cuya lengua es el dialecto (Maya, Quechua ú otros), los Brazileños hablan Portugués.  Muchas de estas personas hablan Inglés de diferentes formas y en diferentes niveles.  Por esta razón se recomienda que los agentes de intervención o las personas que están a cargo de estos casos les pregunten a las víctimas y sobrevivientes de asaltos sexuales cúal es su idioma de orígen y tratar de conseguir los servicios de interpretación adecuados para un major entendimiento.

Si no existe otro recurso más el que de utilizar las habilidades bilingües de una persona que está dentro del equipo de agentes de intervención, es importante permitir que esa persona reserve un tiempo para tratar de entender el idioma de la víctima y tratar de entender su cultura y conocimiento acerca del asalto sexual.

MITO: Todos los inmigrantes Hispanos/Latinos han venido a los Estados Unidos por su propia voluntad.

REALIDAD: A pesar de que muchos inmigrantes latinos están aquí en los Estados Unidos por voluntad propia, algunos son víctimas de tráfico humano.  La violencia sexual frecuentemente juega un papel muy importante en el tráfico de mujeres y niños.  Es muy importante, no creer o asumir que todas las mujeres Hispanas/Latinas están aquí con su familia.

Muchas víctimas de tráfico humano son mujeres y niños quiénes entraron a los Estados Unidos ilegalmente y aunque por su propia voluntad, usualmente bajo falsas promesas de trabajo o a través de servicios fraudulentos.  No obstante, una vez aquí; son forzadas a la prostitución o a permanecer en relaciones abusivas.  Muchas de estas víctimas, se niegan a cooperar, o a revelar las circunstancias por las cúales están en este país por temor a su seguridad, a ser deportadas o a sus vidas y las vidas de su familia.  Es importante educarse sobre el tráfico humano, que es real, para poder comprender mejor estos casos.

(extraido, traducido y modificado de un boletín distribuido por: Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence ACTIONALLIANCE – Sexual Violence Awareness Fact Sheet Hispanics/Latinos Overview – Myths)

RCASA’s Sunday Sexual Assault Blog: Sexual Assault in the Military

In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on March 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

Sexual Assault in the Military

By MAJ(ret.) Tanya Singleton, BSN, MPH, RNC, Counseling Intern

As a retired Army Nurse, I can attest to the fact that most women in the military have been exposed to, or were victimized by sexual harassment and/or sexual assault of one form or the other at some time during their career.  One problem is that as a soldier, the social definition and the “official” definition tend to mean different things to different people.  Although the guidelines clearly follow those of any civilian training in sexual harassment – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. . .”, in the military arena, “don’t tell” is the code of silence that, in many cases, assures safety from harms deemed worse, such as being ostracized from the “band of brothers” in which the girls must pass muster to belong. 

This past fall, I had the privilege of attending a Pre-Conference Institute of the Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), entitled: Combat Trauma: Boot Camp for Civilians.  It was a time of reminiscence for me, but education for the civilian counselors in attendance.  According to LTC Jeffrey Yarvis, PhD¸LCSW, MS, field soldier turned counselor and Desert Storm combat veteran, many female soldiers that he has counseled come to the military for safety, as they described the conditions they left home not nearly as safe as those in a field situation, where “at least I have a weapon” is the mindset of many females abused throughout childhood and into young adulthood.  Running to the military was a more viable and accepted option than running away.

According to Christine Hansen, executive director of the Miles Foundation, Inc., a victim service and advocacy agency for victims of sexual and domestic violence in the military, “Many women. . . (disclose) that sexual assault is considered a rite of passage in the service, and they’re treated like the black sheep of the family when they ask for accountability”.  The most recent data reports that 28 percent of female veterans reported sexual assault during their careers.  Dr. Lorie Morris, Army veteran and a presenter at the ISSTD conference who runs an inpatient PTSD treatment program at the Veterans Administration hospital in Baltimore, suggests that reporting increases once the service member transitions to the veteran’s system, which is perceived as a less threatening environment for disclosure.

Hansen also mentions that “the biggest ongoing problem for sexual assault in the military is the lack of confidentiality . . . any report to a nurse, doctor, counselor, or police officer within the military is something that can be or must be reported to a commander.”

There is a current effort to provide more widespread sexual trauma treatment programs within the Veterans Affairs system.  It is still problematic to prosecute reports of sexual assault in the active service, as the chain of command has the responsibility to investigate and prosecute, presenting an inherent conflict of interest during wartime, which is secondary to the mission at hand.

References

Tessier, M. (2003, March Sunday). Retrieved March 22, 2010, from womensenews.org: http://www.womensenews.org/story/rape

ISSTD 26th Annual Conference, November 2009, Washington, D.C.

RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: Youth Violence Prevention Week

In Outreach on March 27, 2010 at 8:00 am

The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) is a founding partner of National Youth Violence Prevention Week. During this weeklong national education initiative, the goal is to raise awareness and to educate the community on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence. Agencies can raise awareness about youth violence and victimization by celebrating National Youth Violence Prevention Week. This week-long campaign offers a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on programming and activities that promote respect, tolerance, conflict resolution and community action to prevent or reduce youth violence.

Over the last several years, youth violence has become a growing public health concern for communities across the nation. Each year, almost one million young people ages 10 to 24 require medical treatment for injuries caused by violence .With the prevalence of violent images in the media and popularity of violent video games, youth are being exposed to violence at much younger ages than in the past, sometimes from within their own homes or communities.

Consider these statistics:

  • Teens experience the highest rate of violent crime. They are 2.5 times more likely to be the victim of violence than adults.
    Source: Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006).
  • Thirty percent of sixth to 10th graders in the United States either have bullied another youth, been the target of bullying or both.
    Source: Nansel TR, et. Al. “Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association with Psychosocial Adjustment.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001; 285(16): 2094(100).
  • One in 11 young people reports being a victim of physical dating abuse.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control, Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students (United States, 2003).
  • Youth are at the highest risk of being a victim of crime or committing a crime between the after-school hours of 3-8 p.m.
    Source: Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006).
  • Studies show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Additionally, one in five children who go online is sexually exploited.
    Source: “Confronting child sexual abuse with courage.” Darkness to Light, www.darkness2light.org, About Child Abuse section, accessed on March 12, 2008.

 The good news is that homicides and suicides in youth are going down. The bad news is that violence remains the greatest threat to the lives of our youth, especially to racial and ethnic minorities.

  • The homicide rate for black male teens (55 per 100,000) is 16 x higher than that of white male teens (3.3 per 100,00)
  • For Latino male teens: 24 per 100,000, 15 per 100,000 for Native Americans, 7 per 100,000 for Asian male teens
  • The homicide rate for black teen girls is 8 per 100, 000, 5 per 100, 000 for Native Americans, 3 per 100, 000 for Latina teen girls, 2 per 100,000 for white female teens, 1 per 100, 000 for Asian teen girls.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Youth who are victimized are at higher risk to become victimizers, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, turn to teen prostitution, suffer from depression and eating disorders and attempt suicide. Exposure to violence makes it more difficult for a young person to develop a positive, stable self-concept, self-esteem and body image.

Causes of Youth Violence

According to the American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate, there is no single cause for youth violence, but contributing factors include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Need for attention or respect
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Early childhood abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing violence in the home, community or in the media
  • Easy access to weapons

Where to Start

Through programming, special events or community partnerships, community agencies can raise awareness, educate and help youth develop the skills to combat the effects that exposure to violence can have in their lives and in their communities.

Whether you implement a new program, add topics addressing violence into the programs you already have or develop relationships with community partners who can provide support, – we can make a difference!

RCASA’s Art Therapy Thursday: Art Therapy with Populations who have Experienced Trauma

In Advocacy, Art therapy, Sexual Assault Awareness on March 25, 2010 at 10:14 am

Trauma and associated psychological disorders, along with the awareness about these disorders, are becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S. and Globally.  Many Organizations are working to reach out to victims, providing support and interventions, including the utilization of art in order to promote self expression and healing.  RCASA offers Art Therapy Services in order to help victims work through their trauma. We offer individual Art Therapy, group Art Therapy and an Art Therapy protocol specific to processing trauma. There are many other organizations that are learning about and embracing the benefits of creative expression, two of which I would like to highlight.

Combat Paper is a current project for service members that utilizes various art forms in order to bring service members together and support one another as they learn to cope with the trauma they have experienced. The Project and the process are truly transforming. Service members symbolically cut their uniforms from their body, shred it and create paper as art or for art making. “From uniform to pulp, Battlefield to workshop, Warrior to artist” www.combatpaper.org. For a full, and inspiring, video on the project and the process search the web for “Iraq Paper Scissors” Directed by Sara Nesson.

Another Project that addresses the utilization of Art with individuals who have experienced trauma is Freedom in Creation, “Child Artists, Child Soldier No More”. Freedom in Creation (FIC) began to help Children in war torn countries who were forced to be soldiers. FIC empowers war-affected or at-risk communities through increased access to the therapeutic qualities of art, international education, and fresh drinking water. FIC provides opportunities for war-affected children to express themselves through art as therapy and art as education. Participating children are able to express themselves in a healthy peer environment through the creation of art. The process of making art helps to reinstate their dignity, affirms them, and encourages socialization and reintegration of former child soldiers into mainstream society, www.freedomincreation.org.

RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach: Building Positive Self Esteem

In Outreach on March 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

There are many people who have problems with self esteem, particularly those who have been abused. Whether the abuse was physical, emotional or sexual, survivors often question themselves, “Was it my fault?”, “Why didn’t I stop it?”, “I must be a bad person for this to have happened to me.”, “Why didn’t I…”, “What could I have done…”, “What’s wrong with me?”, “What if it happens again?”.

It was Not your fault. You are Not a bad person. The perpetrator made a decision to abuse you; the fault lies solely and firmly with them alone.  No one deserves to be abused, assaulted or raped.

Poor self esteem manifest itself in many areas. In relationships the survivor may not assert themselves, making it easier for others to dominate the relationship or even reabuse them. The survivor may think, “I’m a bad person, I deserve this treatment.”  At work the survivor may be passed over for a promotion or raise because they don’t want to appear overly eager.

How can someone overcome these feelings of inadequacy? A good start is to look at the positives in your life. Do you have a place to live? Do you have a positive relationship in your life? Do you have a job you find satisfying? Are there other areas of your life that give you pleasure? Maybe involvement with your church or other group activities. If not check with your local Chamber of Commerce, friends, co-workers or relatives to see what activities they are involved in that may interest you.  In his book, The Everything Self Esteem Book, Robert M. Sherfild, Ph.D. states, “Generally speaking, people with self esteem issues have a tendency to:

  • Act immature and have poor interpersonal skills
  • Participate in self destructive behaviors
  • Become angry and lose their tempers quickly
  • Sacrifice their identity for the sake of “fitting in.”
  • Dodge reality and unpleasant situations
  • Enjoy the demise or humiliation of others
  • Criticize themselves and others frequently
  • Act superior and brag incessantly
  • Overreact when criticized in any manner
  • Engage in self-sabotage
  • Put little value on their opinions and ideas
  • Focus on perceived weakness and faults
  • Give little credit to their skills and assests
  • Believe others are better than they are
  • Feel like failures compared to others
  • Doubt their ability to achieve success

One way to help overcome poor self –esteem is to help others. Dr Sherfield states that “Giving can include money and material gifts, but it also encompasses a much larger array than tangible goods. Giving of yourself, your time, your talents, and your soul are some of the most nourishing acts in building healthy self-esteem.”

Dr. Sherfield lists the following steps for maintaining a healthy self-esteem;

  • Make wellness a priority
  • Make choices that directly affect your well-being
  • Do not ignore your personal needs
  • Replace aggression with assertion
  • Communicate with yourself
  • Practice integrity in every action
  • Accept responsibility for your life and your actions
  • Practice altruistic giving and sharing
  • Be true to yourself
  • Leave shoulda, woulda, coulda behind
  • Forgive your past
  • Move on
  • Remove contaminated people from your life
  • Live in your spiritual nature
  • Make an effort to grow in some way every day
  • Spend time being creative and “out there”
  • Learn to live on the light side
  • Practice optimism
  • Visualize your life as you would have it
  • Strive for some joy every day
  • Find people whom you love and who love you
  • Build people up
  • If someone applauds you don’t ask why
  • Set goals for your personal success
  • Find passion and purpose in your work
  • Allow yourself to listen with empathy
  • Let go of perfection
  • Learn to say no when you want to say no
  • Find what brings you harmony and stick to it

No one deserves to be abused or assaulted. It is a devastating, life-changing experience. Counseling and positive relationships are extremely helpful in the healing process. It will take hard work but self esteem can be regained with dedication, time, effort and persistence and is well worth the effort for the “new you” on an exciting new road.

RCASA’S Tuesdays with Traci:Letting Go of Resistance

In Sexual Assault Awareness on March 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

Do not be in such a hurry to move on.

Relax.  Breathe deeply.  Be.  Be in harmony today.

Be open.  There is beauty around and in us today.  There is purpose and meaning in today.

There is importance in today – not so much in what happens to us, but in how we respond.

Let today happen. We learn our lessons, we work things out, we change in a simp;e fashion: by living our life fully today.

Do not worry about tomorrow’s feelings, problems, or gifts. Do not worry about whether we can trust ourselves, life, or our Higher Power tomorrow.

Everything we need today will be given to us. That is a promise – from God, from the Universe.

Feel today’s feelings. Solve today’s problems. Enjoy today’s gifts. Trust yourself, life, and your Higher Power today.

Acquire the art of living fully today. Absorb the lessons, the healing, the beauty, the love available to us today.

Do not be in such a rush to move on. There is no hurry. We cannot escape; we only postpone. Let the feelings go; breathe in peace and healing.

Do not be in such a hurry to move on.

Violaciones sexuales contra personas discapacitadas

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Violaciones Sexuales en personas discapacitadas

Las personas discapacitadas son víctimas fáciles de violaciones sexuales debido al simple hecho de que con frecuencia estas están bajo el cuidado o la autoridad de personas que de alguna manera ú otra ejercitan poder físico o institucionalizado sobre ellas.  Este desequilibrio de poder puede causar que los violadores escojan a personas discapacitadas como su blanco ú objetivo y pueden lograr hacer más difícil que estas personas reciban los servicios requeridos y apropiados despúes de una violación sexual.

Los sobrevivientes discapacitados en busca de servicios enfrentan las mismas barreras que los sobrevivientes que no son discapacitados, pero también existe una serie de cosas que son únicas a los sobrevivientes con discapacidades. A continuación se enumeran algunos ejemplos, pero no olvidemos de tomar en cuenta que cada individuo y cada violación sexual son únicos y diferentes. Una persona discapacitada no puede enfrentar todas estas barreras y puede también enfrentar barreras que no figuran aquí.  Cada persona discapacitada tiene una discapacidad diferente que puede ser física o intelectual o cognitive.

Escenarios Comunes

. Aquellos que abusan sexualmente de personas discapacitadas con frecuencia tienden a socializar con sus víctimas para hacerles creer que la violación sexual es normal y acceptable.  Las víctimas pueden crecer sin entender la diferencia entre una conducta sexual apropiada y no apropiada.  Además, los sobrevivientes pueden confundirse si la violencia fue causada por una persona al cuidado de ellos o por un familiar quien también puede hacer cosas buenas y apropiadas por el sobreviviente.

. Por la misma razón de que las personas que abusan de las personas discapacitadas son en gran parte personas que estan a su cuidado, la persona discapacitada puede sentir temor el ser castigado si se decide a confesar el crimen, o temor a la pérdida de servicios si reporta la violación, o puede que tema que la nueva persona que lo o la va a cuidar haga lo mismo o algo peor.

. Las personas discapacitadas son generalmente vistas con compasión y por lo tanto existe la tendencia de que no se les tome en serio si reportan un abuso sexual.  Adicionalmente, esta persona puede temer el que no le crean y por lo tanto optar por no reportar el abuso sexual.

. Las personas discapacitadas frecuentemente son vistas como si no tuvieran o no deberían ser sexuales, una persona discapacitada víctima de asalto sexual tiene dificultad al tratar de hacer que su reporte sea tomado en serio.

. Una persona que tiene una discapacidad cognitiva y que ha sido violado no puede contar con el vocablo lo suficientemente legible como para expresar lo ocurrido

. Una persona discapacitada puede estar isolada y por lo tanto pueda que no cuente con el apoyo familiar necesario como para buscar ayuda.

. Una persona discapacitada víctima de abuso sexual puede contar con psicólogos o consejeros que no han sido entrenados en esos temas específicos de abuso sexual en personas discapacitadas, o no se sienten lo suficientemente competentes como para ayudar a un cliente discapacitado.  Algunas víctimas pueden ser recomendadas a recibir los servicios de profesionales cuyas oficinas no son accesibles a personas discapacitadas.

Todas las personas discapacitadas merecen ser tratadas con compasión y con un cuidado competente.

Aquí en el Concilio Rappahannock Contra el Abuso Sexual, RCASA (por sus siglas en Inglés – Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault) tratamos de acomodar a estas víctimas con un personal profesional y competente y tratamos de trabajar con estas víctimas y acomodar sus necesidades.

Nuestro línea de ayuda directa (540) 371-1666, por favor llámenos, reporte este crimen y nosotros les prestaremos nuestros servicios.

“La violación sexual es un crimen, pero es mucho mayor e inhumano si es cometido contra una persona discapacidad tratando de sacar ventaja de su misma condición”.

RCASA’s Prevention Saturdays: The role of the bystander

In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on March 20, 2010 at 9:00 am

Do you know that there are sometimes three types of people involved in an assault?  The first two are obvious, the perpetrator and the victim.  The third is the bystander.  This person(s) plays an important role in the way the perpetrator responds and how he or she treats the victim.  The bystander can either support the perpetrator or the victim.  Unfortunately, most bystanders are scared of the perpetrator and don’t wish to get involved, so they do nothing.  Even worse is when the bystander supports the perpetrator and makes he or she feel that what is being done to the victim is acceptable or even amusing.  Research shows that an individual is less likely to intervene if there are other bystanders present. In emergency situations, many things prohibit bystanders from intervening: 

  • If no one else is acting, it is hard to go against the crowd.
  • People may feel that they are risking embarrassment.
    (What if I’m wrong and they don’t need help?)
  • They may think there is someone else in the group more qualified to help.
  • They may think that the situation does not call for help since no one else is
    doing anything. 

Are you a good or poor bystander?  Your actions can make a difference in someone’s life. In some cases, sexual assault can be prevented when people take responsibility for each other and get involved when someone is at risk. When you see someone who looks like they could use assistance do you respond in a helpful or hurtful way? You don’t have to confront the perpetrator if you are concerned that you may be next.  You may ask the victim to come and join you and your friends.  You may report the situation to an adult or the police.  Or, if you are willing and able, let the perpetrator know in a non-threatening manner that what is being done is unacceptable and it should stop.  If someone doesn’t recognize trouble, do something to intervene and prevent the situation from becoming worse.

When a situation makes us uncomfortable, we may try and dismiss it as not being a problem. When in doubt, trust your gut! You have the responsibility to intervene. When you fail to act, you condone the bad behavior.

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