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Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Información sobre violencia doméstica entre personas del mismo sexo en la comunidad LGBTQ.

In Education, Hispanic/Latino, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

(Extraido de: http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=13586&state_code=PG&lang=es)

(Extracted from: http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=13586&state_code=PG&lang=es)

Para propósitos de educar y concientizar a nuestra comunidad Latina a través de la red.

Cualquier pregunta, si necesita de nuestros servicios  nos puede llamar a RCASA (Concilio de Rappahannock Contra El Abuso Sexual) (540) 371-1666

Información sobre violencia doméstica entre personas del mismo sexo en la comunidad LGBTQ.

  • Formas de abuso
  • Terminando con el abuso
  • Información Básica

    ¿Qué significa LGBTQ?

    LGBTQ es la unión de las letras iniciales de las palabras lesbiana, gay, bisexual, transgénero/transsexual y queer (raro).  “Lesbiana,” “gay” y “bisexual” son términos que indican la tendencia de la atracción sexual de una persona, considerada normalmente como la orientación sexual. “Trans,” (que puede entenderse como transgénero o transsexual), es la identidad de género que en cierta medida rompe con las reglas de los límites de género de la cultura estableciada.  Una persona que se identifica como trans puede ser lesbiana, gay, bisexual, heterosexual o algo más.  La letra “Q” en LGBTQ puede entenderse como “queer,” “raro” u “inseguro” o ambos.  El término “queer” antes era, y en algunos lugares aún es, considerado un insulto para la gente de la comunidad de LGBT.  Sin embargo, como ocurre con muchas palabras que alguna vez tuvieron un sentido negativo, esta palabra ha sido recuperada y actualmente está siendo utilizada por la comunidad de LGBT.*

    * National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), un proyecto de la Coalición de Pennsylvania en contra la Violencia Doméstica, “LGBT Communities and Domestic Violence,” disponible en http://new.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/NRC_LGBTDV-Full.pdf

    ¿Le fue útil esta información?

    ¿Qué es violencia doméstica?

    La violencia doméstica se da cuando una persona consigue y mantiene el poder y el control sobre otra persona dentro de una relación íntima.  Se trata de un modelo de comportamiento en el que uno de los miembros de la pareja utiliza la violencia física, la coerción, la amenaza, la intimidación, el aislamiento y el abuso emocional, sexual o económico para controlar y cambiar el comportamiento de su pareja.  La persona abusiva puede ser su actual o anterior cónyugue, la persona que vive con usted o su pareja circunstancial.  Para entender mejor las formas como una persona abusiva puede utilizar el poder y control sobre su víctima del mismo sexo, puede fijarse en la comunmente llamada “rueda de poder y control” (en inglés) en: www.ncavp.org/back/document_files/DVWheel.pdf.

    La violencia doméstica ocurre en las comunidades gay, lesbiana, bisexual, transgenéro y heterosexual sin depender de la raza, la religión, el ingreso, el origen étnico, o la región.  Así también, el género o la orientación sexual de una persona no determina el que el/ella pueda ser la víctima de violencia doméstica o la persona abusiva.*

    Las personas abusivas utilizan diferentes comportamientos para lograr el control de sus parejas, que incluyen:

    ABUSO FĺSICO: Agarrar, pellizcar, empujar, abofetear, golpear, estirar el cabello, morder, etc. a a la víctima; negarle cuidado médico o negarle acceso a medicamentos; forzarla al uso de alcohol y/o drogas.

    ABUSO SEXUAL: Forzar a la víctima o intentar forzarla a tener cualquier tipo de contacto sexual con la persona abusiva y/o con otras personas; forzarle a tener relaciones sexuales luego de utilizar la violencia física; agredir las zonas íntimas de su cuerpo; amenazarla de manera sexualmente degradante; forzarla a tener sexo sin protección; exponer a la víctima al VIH y/u otras enfermedades de transmision sexual.

    ABUSO ECONÓMICO: Hacer que la víctima sea o intentar que sea financieramente dependiente de la persona abusiva, por ejemplo, manteniendo el control total de los recursos financieros, negandole el acceso a recursos económicos (dinero), prohibiendole la asistencia a la escuela o al trabajo, robandole dinero; forzandole a gastar más dinero del que puede disponer.

    ABUSO EMOCIONAL: Debilitar el sentido de autoestima de la víctima a través del abuso verbal, por ejemplo, la crítica, la humillación, y el insulto constantes; dañar la relación que la víctima tiene con sus hijos.

    ABUSO SICOLÓGICO: Intimidar; amenazar con lastimar a la víctima y/o a sus hijos o a sí mismo(a); dañar a las mascotas y a la propiedad; realizar juegos sicológicos o forzar a la víctima a permanecer aislada de amigos, familiares, de la escuela, y/o del trabajo; monitorear de forma constante para saber donde se encuentra.

    ABUSO DE IDENTIDAD: Amenazar a la persona con revelar su orientación sexual o su identidad de género, su participación en relaciones S&M o “polyamory,” su condición de VIH, su situación migratoria, o cualquier otra información personal a familiares, amigos, compañeros de trabajo, al dueño de la vivienda, a la policia, etc.*

    * “¿Que es abuso de pareja?” The Network / La Red, http://www.thenetworklared.org/partnerabuse.htm

    ¿Le fue útil esta información?

    ¿Existe violencia doméstica en la comunidad de LGBTQ?

    Sí, existe.  El grado de violencia doméstica dentro de la comunidad LGBTQ es dificil de determinar, debido a que existe un bajo nivel de reportes y al hecho de que la mayoría de los centros que trabajan con violencia doméstica están orientados a parejas heterosexuales.  Sin embargo, se cree que el grado de violencia doméstica en parejas del mismo sexo es más o menos el mismo que el que experimentan las mujeres en una relación heterosexual, que es aproximadamente 1 de 4.*  La información sobre el grado de violencia doméstica entre individuos transgénero ha sido aun más dificil de averiguar.  Una encuesta de inicios de esta década indica que de aproximadamente 200 individuos que se identificaron como transgenero, 1/3 de ellos fueron violados o agredidos físicamente por su pareja.**

    A pesar de los niveles similares de violencia doméstica entre la comunidad de LGBTQ y la heterosexual, las personas lesbianas, bisexuales, y transgenero enfrentan retos adicionales cuando se trata de conseguir ayuda, puesto que la violencia doméstica en la comunidad LGBTQ puede tomar formas distintas a las experimentadas por una mujer heterosexual.  Para mayor información sobre formas específicas de abuso en la comunidad de LGBTQ, ir a Formas de abuso.

    * “Domestic Violence in Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Relationships.” LAMBDA, http://www.lambda.org/DV_background.htm
    ** Survivor Project, “Trans and intersex survivors of domestic violence: Defining terms, barriers and responsibilities” by Courvant, D& Cook-Daniels, L.(2000) disponible en: http://www.survivorproject.org/defbarresp.html

    RCASA’s Sunday Blog: Meet our Newest Intern!

    In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 30, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Hello, my name is Kristiana Poole. I was born in Woodbridge, VA in 1978 and moved to Fredericksburg, VA when I was baby and have been living here ever since.  I am a new intern at Rappahannock Council against Sexual Assault (RCASA).  I am also a full time student at Old Dominion University.  I’ve been happily married for 13 years, a mother of 4, and I work part time at Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence (RCDV).  I guess if I was to summarize myself in one word, it would be BUSY.  My major is Human Services and my minor is Psychology. This internship is the final piece to completing my major.  I will be interning until mid August.

     I have a lot of previous experience in the helping field.  In the past I completed an internship at the Spotsylvania Victim/Witness office.  In my time there, I got a really close look at multiple domestic violence and sexual assault cases.  I accompanied victims to and through the court process.  That is when I began to be interested in working a little more closer with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  After completing my internship at Spotsylvania Victim/Witness, along with taking 7 psychology classes, I received a certificate for Para-Professional Counseling.  I have also completed 2 mini internships with Rappahannock Council for Children and Parents (RACCAP).  When I was there I assisted with the children’s groups and some of their fundraising events.  I also interned with Rappahannock Area office on Youth.  I assisted with their My Life project which is an afterschool program who works with at risk youth. 

    I currently work at RCDV which is a non-profit organization that works with victims of domestic violence.  I am the Children Services Coordinator and have been employed close to a year now.  I assist all the children and their families that come into our shelter with whatever their needs are at the time and throughout their stay in our shelter.  I also coordinate/facilitate the children’s support groups.  I was really interested in interning with RCASA because I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience with working with clients who have been affected by sexual assault.   Some of my future goals are to become fluent in Spanish and to obtain my masters in either Counseling or Social Work.  I am really torn which way I want to go.  I am hoping that this internship may shed some light on that decision.  I am thrilled to be a part of what RCASA has to offer and look forward to all the experience I will gain interning this summer.

    RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: Child Sexual Abuse

    In Advocacy, Art therapy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a silent epidemic throughout the United States and the world, creating social havoc for the children, adult survivors, and society. It can be prevented and it can be treated, but a conscious and sustained effort to ensure the safety of the children is both missing and essential.

    Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

    Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. When sexual abuse has occurred, a child can develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

    No child is psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual stimulation. Even a two or three year old, who cannot know the sexual activity is wrong, will develop problems resulting from the inability to cope with the overstimulation.

    A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.

    Some children who have been sexually abused have difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms. Some sexually abused children become child abusers or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach adulthood.

    Parents can lessen the chance of sexual abuse by:

    • Telling children that if someone tries to touch your body and do things that make you feel funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away
    • Teaching children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and to authority, for example, don’t tell children to, Always do everything the teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do
    • Encouraging professional prevention programs in the local school system.

    For more information or help call RCASA 540.371.6771.

    RCASA’s Friday Facts: Understanding P.E.R.K. Exams and Your Options After a Sexual Assault

    In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Your safety and health are most important. Please consider seeing a health care provider even if you don’t want to make a report to police right now. The health care provider can check you for injuries and talk to you about possible pregnancy concerns and/or sexually transmitted infections. If you think you may want to report the assault, the health care provider can also collect evidence of the assault from your body. This is called a P.E.R.K. exam.

    Where can I get support and information?

    Sexual Assault Crisis Centers have staff and volunteers who are trained to provide free crisis-intervention and counseling services to people who have been sexually assaulted. They also have people trained to come to the hospital and/or the police station to help you. To contact  the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault hotline for assistance, call (540) 371-1666.

    What is a P.E.R.K. exam? (Physical Evidence Recovery Kit)

    A P.E.R.K. is a special medical exam given to people who have been sexually assaulted to collect evidence that may be helpful in the investigation and prosecution of the sexual assault. If you think you may want to report the assault to the police, the sooner you have evidence collected, the better.

    How soon should a P.E.R.K. exam be done?

    A P.E.R.K. exam often will not be done if more than three days have passed since the assault.

    Do I have to have a P.E.R.K. exam?

    No. If you have decided that you do not want to make a report to law enforcement now or in the future, then having evidence collected by having a P.E.R.K. exam may not be the right choice for you. Advocates from your Sexual Assault Crisis Center or the statewide Hotline (Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-838-8238) can help you through the choice to have or decline a P.E.R.K. exam.

    If I don’t have a P.E.R.K. exam, will the police be called?

    By law, health care providers DO NOT have to report sexual assaults to the police unless there are certain weapons used during the assault (Virginia Code: 54.1-2967).

    Note: Health care providers may have to report the sexual assault if you are under 18 or an adult who depends on another adult for care.

    Who will pay for the P.E.R.K. examination?

    The Commonwealth of Virginia will pay for the costs of the P.E.R.K. exam. You do not have to participate in an investigation to have the P.E.R.K. paid for. Your insurance will be billed first if you have Medicaid, Medicare, CHAMPUS, Tri-Care or another type of federal insurance. If you do not want the insurance information to be sent to your home, please tell the health care provider.

    If I choose to have a P.E.R.K. exam, what do I need to know?

    1. If at nay time you are uncomfortable with any part of the exam, you have the right to stop the exam. If you have questions about what the doctor or nurse are doing, you have the right to ask.
    2. You have the right to a P.E.R.K. exam without having to talk to the police at the hospital or anytime after the assault. If you have concerns about the police.
    3. If you want to report the assault, the police will most likely talk to you at the hospital to get more information about what happened.
    4. If you are unsure about reporting or you are not ready to talk to the police at the hospital, please tell the doctor , nurse, or police officer.
    5. If you are not ready to talk to the police or report the assault, the police will probably still be called to the hospital to pick up the evidence. At this time the doctor or nurse will most likely have to give the police some information about you. If this concerns you, please talk to the doctor.
    6. You may be responsible for other costs associated with the assault. Contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund for more information on costs and payments.

    If I choose not to talk to the police, what do I need to know?

    1. You can make a report to law enforcement any time you are ready. If you decide that you want to report the assault to the police, you can call 911 or your local Sexual Assault Crisis Center to help you make the call.
    2. If you decide not to talk to the police immediately after the assault, other evidence may be lost. Immediately after an assault, the police usually try to collect other evidence from the suspect(s), the crime scene(s), and/or from you.
    3. The sooner you report the assault to the police, the better the chance for a successful prosecution of the offender for the assault against you.

    If you have questions, please call:

    • The Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault at 1-540-371-1666
    • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238
    • Crime Victim Assistance INFO-LINE at 1-888-887-3418 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri)
    • Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund at 1-800-552-4007

    *

    “Coping with Sexual Assault:  A Guide for Professionals and Volunteers Working with Sexual Assault Victims” copyrighted by Sugati Publications at www.SugatiPublications.com

    The Art of our Environment

    In Art therapy, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 27, 2010 at 6:58 am

    This time of year, the environment blossoms with a creative variety of sensations.  New colors, smells, sounds, and textures arrive for us to notice and enjoy.  Mindfulness describes taking time to notice this display.  In any environment, actively observing the art around us, rather than the blur or bustle of other thoughts may increase our ability to relax, focus, and return to our daily lives.

    Research has demonstrated that witnessing creative processes can be just as soothing as being the artist.  Therefore, when we watch nature take its artistic liberties, we can retain an inner resource for wellness.  On the other hand, we may participate in nature-based creation by using the tools around us, whether its building elaborate sandcastles or balancing smooth stones.

    One artist who takes advantage of natural art is Andy Goldsworthy.  This artists uses only the materials surrounding him to create his pieces (viewable online at www.goldsworthy.cc.gla.ac.uk). A Film entitled “Rivers and Tides ” depicts Goldsworthy’s process of interacting with nature to make art (part of which you may view through You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TWBSMc47bw).

    Regardless of your ability to retreat into a natural environment, we are each surrounding be a variety of sensations.  Take time to use these external resources as tools to increase your mental health.

    RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach with Corey: Engaging Men to Stop Rape

    In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

    There are things we do without even thinking about them, take a look at some of the things you may be doing that perpetuate sexism and violence. Do you do any of these things? If you do, STOP! So you can help STOP RAPE!

    • Use derogatory words to describe a female like “bitch,” “freak,” “whore,” “baby,”
    • See women as a stereotype rather than a person?
    • Use or fund violent or degrading pornography?
    • Stand by while others degrade women?
    • Look the other way when you suspect abuse?
    • Use alcohol as a way to coerce sex?
    • Whistle, Cat call or in any way sexually harass women?
    • Believe in the media portrayal of women as property or trophies?
    • Indulge in media that demeans women?
    • Try to pressure someone into having sex?
    • Fail to communicate with your partner about sex?
    • Refuse to take no for an answer?
    • Not make sure you get a clear yes for sex, every time?
    • Believe that “she deserved it”?
    • Assume that if someone wants sex if they are sexual with you on any level?
    • Think because you had sex before, you don’t have to get consent to have sex again?
    • Forget that men are victims too (1 in 8 men in Virginia have been sexually assaulted)
    • Set a bad example for adolescents?
    • Think of sexual assault as a women’s issue?

    What can you do instead:

    • Speak Up! You will probably never see a rape in progress, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote rape. When your best friend tells a joke about rape, say you don’t find it funny. When you read an article that blames a rape survivor for being assaulted, write a letter to the editor. When laws are proposed that limit women’s rights, let politicians know that you don’t support them. Do anything but remain silent.
    • Develop an awareness of the cultural supports for violence against women. Develop the ability to recognize myths which support violence against women. When you see sex without consent on TV, in a film or read it in a book, remind yourself that such behavior is rape.
    • If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner—or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general—don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON”T REMAIN SILENT.
    • Talk to a victim about how the risk of being raped affects their daily lives; about how they want to be supported if it has happened to them; about what they think men can do to prevent sexual violence. If you’re willing to listen, you can learn a lot from women about the impact of rape and how to stop it.
    • Believe people when they tell you they’ve been raped or harassed. Support what they say about it. Don’t ask about their behavior or what they were wearing, etc. Listen to them.
    • Recognize that women neither ask for nor deserve to be raped ever. (from sexual assault and abuse prevention program Stanford University)

    RCASA’s Tuesdays with Traci: Considering Commitment

    In Education, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 25, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Pay attention to your commitments.

    While many of us fear committing, it’s good to weigh the cost of any commitment we are considering. We need to feel consistently positive that it’s an appropriate comitment for us.

    Many of us have a history of jumping- leaping headfirst into commitments without weighing the cost and the possible consequences of that particular commitment. When we get in, we find that we do not really want to commit, and feel trapped.

    Some of us may become afraid of losing out on a particular opportunity if we don’t commit. It is true that we will lose out on certain opportunities if we are unwilling to commit. We still need to weigh the commitment. We still need to become clear about whether that commitment  seems right for us. If it isn’t, we need to be direct and honest with others and ourselves.

    Be patient. Do some soul searching. Wait for a clear answer. We need to make our commitments not in urgency or panic but in quiet confidence that what we are commiting to  is right for us.

    If something within us says no, find the courage to trust that voice.

    This is not our last chance. It is not the only opportunity we’ll ever have. Don’t panic. We don’t have to commit to what isn’t right for us, even if we try to tell ourselves it should be right for us nad we should commit,.

    Often we can trust our intuitive sense more than we can trust our intellect about commitments.

    In the excitement of making a commitment and beginning, we may overlook the realities of the middle. That is what we need to consider.

    We don’t have to commit out of urgency, impulsivity, or fear. We are entitled to ask, “Will this be good for me?” We are entitled to ask if this commitment feels right.

    AYUDA FINANCIERA PARA VICTIMAS DE DELITOS – CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION FUND, CICF

    In Education, Hispanic/Latino, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 24, 2010 at 9:00 am

    AYUDA PARA VICTIMAS DE DELITOS

    CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION FUND, CICF

    ¿Quién puede presentar un reclamo?

    Las personas que han sufrido lesiones personales, traumas mentales o muerte como consecuencia directa de delitos violentos, según se menciona a continuación:

    . Víctima,

    . Padre/madre o tutor legal de una víctima menor de edad,

    . Ciudadano intentando impedir un delito,

    . Cónyuge, padre/madre, abuelo/a, hermano/a o menor de edad sobreviviente,

    . Persona dependiente legalmente de la manutención de una víctima fallecida o delincuente retirado del hogar,

    . Persona que pagó por el funeral de una víctima.

    ¿Quién tiene derecho a recibir indemnización?

    1)      Las personas cuyo crimen ha ocurrido en Virginia o residen en Virginia, y el delito ocurrió en un territorio donde no existe un programa de indemnización.

    Debe haber sido reportado a las autoridades dentro de las 120 horas de ocurrido, en casos de demora justificada.

    La solicitud CICF debe presentarse dentro del primer año de ocurrido el delito, excepto en casos de demora justificada.

    2)      La víctima – que debe participar en el proceso judicial.

    ¿Quién no tiene derecho a recibir indemnización? – Una víctima que:

    . Participó o cooperó con la ocurrencia del delito.

    . Participó en actividades ilicitas.

    . A sabiendas, presentó información falsa a la agencia CICF (por sus siglas en Inglés – Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund).

    ¿Qué indemnización puedo solicitar?

    . La indemnización total máxima es de $25,000

    . Gastos médicos.

    . Gastos de atención médica psicológica.

    . Gastos de atención médica psicológica del sobreviviente.

    . Gastos funerarios o de entierro.

    . Pérdida de salario.

    . Pérdida de ayuda financiera.

    . Gastos de mudanza.

    . Limpieza de la escena del crimen.

    . Millaje.

    . Medicamentos recetados.

    . Otros gastos relacionados con el delito, tales como sistemas de seguridad residencial, medicamentos       recetado o anteojos.

    CICF no pagará por:

    . PERDIDA DE PROPIEDAD

    . Honorarios de abogados.

    . Daños físicos y morales.

    . Accidentes automovilísticos, except DUI (conducción bajo los efectos del alcohol o drogas).

    ¿Cuánto tiempo tomará?

    En promedio, puede llevar hasta 6 meses para que el CICF obtenga toda la documentación necesaria para tomar una decision sobre el reclamo.

    CICF trata de alivira a la víctima obteniendo directamente toda la información necesaria; sin embargo, el reclamo se procesará más rápidamente si la víctima puede proporcionar a CICF la información solicitada.

    Una vez adjudicado el monto indemnizatorio, se envía inmediatamente una carta al reclamante; no obstante, puede llevar 30 días hasta que la victima o el proveedor reciba el cheque. Los cheques los emite la Tesorería de Virginia (Treasurer of Virginia).

    ¿Cómo puede obtener una solicitud?

    . Para completer la solicitud CICF, puede obtener ayuda en la Oficina de Víctimas/Testigos (Victim Witness Office) de su área, o comunicándose con nosotros por internet o teléfono:

    www.cicf.state.va.us

    1-800-552-4007

    Teléfonos de las Oficinas de Víctimas y Testigos:

    Caroline 804-633-8037
    Fredericksburg 540-372-1040
    King George 540-775-4442
    Spotsylvania 540-507-7666
    Stafford 540-658-4301
    Orange 540-672-6380
    Culpeper 540-727-3413

    Concilio de Rappahanock Contra el Abuso Sexual y sus Servicios Latinos siempre sirviendo a nuestra comunidad, por favor no tema y reporte cualquier abuso sexual llamando al (540) 371-1666 y pidiendo hablar con alguien en español.

    RCASA’s Sunday Blog: Yeardley Love

    In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Our last blog talked about the secrets that perpetuate sexual assault.  In previous blogs, we discussed the bystander effect.  In the case of Yeardley Love, University of Virginia lacrosse player, it seems that many members of the men’s and women’s teams, sorority and fraternity members, were bystanders­ – witnesses to the abusive behavior of her former boyfriend and alleged murderer towards her, on numerous occasions.  The unspoken thoughts surrounding the red flags that were flying everywhere often have the potential to be life-saving, so . . .was it REALLY a secret? Much speculation has been in the media surrounding this case, however, I’m sure if you think about it, you’re aware of a friend, relative, classmate, casual acquaintance, who is in a similar situation.  Let’s review some of the concepts discussed on previous blogs.

                     By definition, a healthy relationship is “a connection between people that increases well-being, is mutually enjoyable, and enhances or maintains each individual’s positive self-concept.”  A relationship should not make you or your friends fearful or apprehensive; lower your self-esteem, downplay your achievements, isolate you from healthy friends and family, or shatter your dreams.  A relationship is not healthy if you are touched against your will, encouraged to participate in potentially harmful activities, spoken to in a disrespectful manner, or harmed in a physical or emotional manner. Love’s attacker was described by a teammate as “obsessive,” constantly texting and calling Love, to the point that people close to her worried about the relationship.

    Another friend said the couple broke up in part due to an incident during which Love was attacked by her former boyfriend, who couldn’t remember the incident the next day.

    According to the Virginia Child Protection Newsletter (VCPN, Spring, 2010, Vol. 88), data collected from 1999-2007 reflects a steady state of need regarding the status of domestic and sexual violence.  Several trends are noted:

    1.  Close to one in three homicides in Virginia is related to family and intimate partner violence.
    2. One in five college students report violence by a current dating partner.

    The notoriety involved in this case has prompted a conversation with the college president and the Governor to increase domestic violence vigilance between college campuses and law enforcement in the state of Virginia.  As discussed in a previous blog, Tabachnick (2008) suggests that “programs that shift social norms, develop institutional policies, and create legislative initiatives will support individual behavioral change by transforming the forces surrounding the individual.  Our rapidly changing technology may also make it easier for people to reach out for help or offer assistance” (emphasis mine).

    By all accounts, Yeardley Love was an ideal student, described by family, friends, former teachers, and teammates, as “an angel”.  Hopefully, this angel can be a guardian to the safety of other victims of violent crimes against women, so that her untimely death will not have been in vain.

    RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: LGBT Sexual Assault

    In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Transgendered survivors of sexual assault have many of the same reactions and fears as would any survivor. LGBT individuals receive the same services as other survivors of sexual assault.
    Same-Sex Sexual Assault Statistics
    (From the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault fact sheet Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered (LGBT) Populations and Sexual Assault )

    • In a study of 162 gay men and 111 lesbians, 52% reported at least one incident of sexual coercion by same sex partners. Gay men experienced 1.6 incidents per person; while lesbians experienced 1.2 incidents per person.
    • Studies over the past two decades on lesbian sexual violence show a range from a low of 5% to a high of 57% of respondents claiming they had experienced attempted or completed sexual assault or rape by another woman, with most studies finding rates of over 30%.
    • Men living with male intimate partners experience more intimate partner violence than do men living with female intimate partners. 15% of men who lived with a man as a couple reported being raped/assaulted or stalked by a male cohabitant.

    Sexual Violence Against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender) Individuals

    • In a sample of 412 university students, 16.9% of the subjects reported that they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual; the remainder identified themselves as heterosexual. Of the lesbian, gay, and bi-sexual subjects 42.4% (30.6% female and 11.8% male) and 21.4% of the heterosexuals (17.8% female and 3.6% male) indicated they had been forced to have sex against their will.

      A 1991 study of university students reported that of their sample of gay/bi-sexual students (including both gay men and lesbians) approximately 18% had been victims of rape, approximately 12% had been victims of attempted rape, and approximately 37% had been victims of sexual coercion.

    • There were 2,552 reported anti-gay incidents in 1998, of these 88 were sexual assaults/rapes.
    • Additional Concerns of LGBT Survivors

      Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Transgendered survivors of sexual assault have many of the same reactions and fears as would any survivor. However, LGBT sexual assault survivors may face additional concerns. These concerns are normal.

      RCASA’s hotline staff are available to talk about all options available to a victim of sexual assault and can help address your specific concerns.

      RCASA supports all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, race, class status, ethnicity, religious identity, age, those with disabilities, or the duration of the relationship: dating, intimate, briefly acquainted, married, or strangers.

      Fear of Prejudice

      Someone who is sexually assaulted by someone of their same sex may fear reporting the crime because of prejudice. They may fear that an officer, hotline worker, doctor, or attorney will judge them because of their sexuality. They might feel like people believe they brought the attack on themselves by being LGBT.

      Assumption of Heterosexuality

      People assisting a survivor of sexual assault may assume that the person is heterosexual. A survivor may feel uncomfortable correcting that assumption, or disclosing that they are homosexual.

      Fear of Being “Outed”

      A LGBT survivor of sexual assault may not have revealed to their friends, family, or community that they are homosexual. They may worry if they come forward to report that this information will be revealed.

      This Can’t Happen To Me

      Sexual assault is most often portrayed as a crime committed by men against women. However, sexual assault can be perpetrated by men against men and by women against women. LGBT survivors have the same options available to them as all other sexual assault survivors.

      Betrayal of LGBT Community

      A LGBT victim of sexual assault may hesitate to report the crime because they may worry about betraying their community. They might worry that a stigma of sexual violence will be attached to the LGBT community.

    For more information or help call RCASA 540.371.6771.

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