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Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Tuesday’s with Prevention: Intersectionality & Violence

In Sexual Assault Awareness on May 31, 2011 at 7:38 am

Kimberle Crenshaw developed the theory of Intersectionality, Patricia Hill Collins and other writers popularized the theory. Intersectionality operates on the the notion that categories such as gender, race, class, ability, and other categories of identity, interact on multiple levels and simultaneously. Sexual violence in, and against, the African-American community is a serious issue. AA victims of sexual violence experience the same psychological symptoms (duh!). However, unlike white victims, AA victims must also deal with the racism of society and how that affects their healing process, their support system, and the potential legal process. The rates of victimization, depending on where you look, are about the same as for white women, or could be higher. Most AA victims were assaulted by other AA individuals. Expanding upon the information from yesterdays blog, the ‘Jezebel’ still exists, albeit in more subtle ways. The idea of the hypersexualized black woman still remains, and vice versa, the image of the black male rapist pervades. If black women are Jezebel’s, they cannot be raped because they are always hitting on men. The black identity is associated with sex. So, women cannot be raped, and black men are a threat (to the white male property; white women). This racism prevents black women from coming forward, and black men may be easy suspects. Racism is a vulnerability for sexual violence. Historically, and in contemporary times. Racism is also a reason for sexual violence being underreported. Whether it is because of racism experienced from law enforcement (regardless of whether or not it is related to the assault) may prevent AA victims from coming forward. Also, AA women may not want to validate racist images of black men as insatiable rapists and possibly further increase the number of incarcerated black men. Experiences of services offered from rape crisis centers may also prevent victims from coming forward. Inability to offer emergency housing or locate employment may prevent AA victims from reporting. This negative experience may also be a result of counselors ignoring the influence of racism during therapy. Class is an obvious issue in the AA community. As that relates to sexual violence, it creates a vulnerability for sexual violence as reporting becomes more difficult, dependency (financial) becomes more likely, and any number of other issues complicate and make more likely victimization. Research has shown an astonishingly high rate of sexual violence amongst poor AA women, 42% have been raped (Kalichman, Williams, Cherry, Belcher, & Nachimson, 1998). Another study found that 67% of low-income welfare-dependent AA women had a history of sexual violence (Honeycutt, Marshall, & Weston, 2001). Ability and Homophobia can also influence the risk of sexual violence. AA disAbled individuals may be at higher risk because of ableism and racism. Homophobia is still a serious issue in the AA community and may contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence (corrective rape) and its underreporting.

Agresión Sexual en instalaciones militares

In Hispanic/Latino, Prevention, Professional Training, Sexual Assault Awareness, Systems Advocacy on May 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Hoy día y a través del fin de semana estamos conmemorando lo que hoy en día se conoce como el Día de los Caídos (en guerra), en donde recordamos y conmemoramos a miembros del servicio militar que murieron en el servicio militar, (citado, traducido y modificado de: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day)

Esto es un día a donde muchas personas a través de los Estados Unidos visitan las tumbas de sus familiares caidos en guerra.  Muchas otras personas lo extienden y hacen un fin de semana de diversion, es el inicio de la temporada de verano, muchos parques de atracción familiar inician sus actividades de verano en este fin de semana, para luego cerrarlas despúes del Día del Trabajo. Desde este fin de semana hasta el fin de semana del Día de Trabajo, estos parques de atracción quieren demostrar su gratitud a nuestras fuerzas armadas, honrando a nuestros miembros del servicio militar y a sus famliares ofreciéndoles muchos descuentos para ingresar a estos parques y divertirse. Lamentablemente durante esta época veraniega es donde aumenta el caso de agresiones sexuales en cualquiera de sus formas, puede ocurrirle a cualquiera y en cualquier lugar. Como parte de su programa de Prevención y Respuesta de Agresión Sexual – Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, SAPR, la página electrónica de la Base Militar de la Infantería de la Marina de los Estados Unidos Quantico (Marine Corps Base Quantico) cuenta con una lista casi completa de lugares a donde puede solicitar ayuda si lamentablemente esto le llegará a suceder a usted a uno de sus familiars, esta lista la puede encontrar en: http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/activities/display.aspx?PID=4179&Section=SAPR

Como pueden ver existen muchos programas de ayuda dentro del servicio militar, pero desafortunadamente existe una gran cantidad de violencia sexual intrafamiliar que no es reportada por temor al que dirán, o a que al miembro del servicio militar tenga que declarar en frente de una corte militar, y/o tenga que enfrentar una expulsion militar deshonrosa. Esto es sin añadir la potencial pérdida del salario y el seguro médico militar y otros beneficiosmilitares para la familia que muchas veces pueden ser considerados hasta lucrativos, comparados con los seguros médicos de otros centros laborales.

A continuación puede encontrar esta lista reproducida, traducida y modificada de esa página electrónica:

Contact Information and Resources for Sexual Assaults

Información de como contactar a estas agencias y otros Recursos para casos de Agresión Sexual

Sexual Assault Resources and Contact Information

Recursos e Información de  como contactar a estas agencias en casos de Agresión Sexual

 “If you have an emergency, or are in immediate danger, or require immediate medical or law enforcement assistance, please call 911”

“Si tiene una emergencia, o está en peligro inmediato, o requiere de atención médica inmediata o asistencia policial, por favor llame al 911”

Installation Contact Information

Información de como contactar a distintos programas dentro de la Instalación Militar de la Base Militar de la Infantería de la Marina de los Estados Unidos, Quantico, (Marine Corps Base Quantico or MCB Quantico)

MCBQ Installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Uniformed Victim Advocate (UVA) Coordinator

Instalación de la Base Militar de Infantería de la Marina de los Estados Unidos (MCBQ) – Coordinador de Atención Inmediata en casos de Agresión Sexual y Coordinador de Asistencia a  Víctimas dentro de las Instalaciones Militares

(703) 784-3532, office/Oficina

(703) 432-9999, 24/7 MCBQ Sexual Assault Help Line (24 horas/7 días a  la semana – Línea de ayuda inmediata del Programa de Agresión Sexual de MCBQ)

MCBQ Family Advocacy/Counseling Services and Civilian Victim Advocate (VA) Coordinator

Servicios de Asistencia a la familia de MCBQ/Servicios de Consejería y Coordinador del Trabajador Civil intercesor/navegador/promoter/asistente de víctimas)

703) 784-2570, office/Oficina

(703) 784-2707, after working hours please ask for the On-Call or Duty Civilian Victim Advocate (Fuera del horario de oficina por favor pregunte por el trabajador de turno o el trabajador civil intercesor/navegador/promotor/asistente de víctimas)

MCBQ Command Chaplain

Capellán del Comando MCBQ

703) 784-2131, office/Oficina

(703) 784-2707, after working hours please ask for the On-Call or Duty Chaplain (Fuera del horario de oficina por favor pregunte por el Capellán de turno)

MCBQ Command Duty Officer

(703) 784-2707, a 24-hour post.  After working hours please ask for the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator or your Command’s Uniformed Victim Advocate

Local Community Contact Information

Información de números telefónicos de la Comunidad Local

Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, RCASA

Concilio Rappahannock Contra la Agresión Sexual

(540) 371-1666 (24-Hour Hotline) Línea de ayuda inmediata

 (540) 371-5502 (Línea de servicios de intervención y de español)

Military One Source

http://www.militaryonesource.com

(800) 342-9647, stateside, 24-Hour Hotline/Ayuda inmediata aquí en los Estados Unidos

(877) 888-0727, Spanish/Español

00-800-3429-6477, overseas/llamadas extranjeras
(484) 530-5908, overseas collect/llamadas extranjeras a cobro revertido

 Fort Belvoir Sexual Assault Response Coordinator & Victim Advocacy Program

Coordinador de Respuesta Inmediata en Casos de Agresión Sexual en Fort Belvoir y para el Programa de Ayuda a Víctimas:
(703) 919-0986, 24-Hour Hotline/Línea de ayuda inmediata las 24 horas al día

Para otras líneas telefónicas como la de las oficinas del Alguacil en Quantico y Stafford, Salas de Emergencia Civiles y Militares y Recursos de la Comunidad adicionales por favor refiérase a la página electrónica original.

El Concilio Rappahannock Contra la Agresión Sexual sirve el Distrito de Planificación No. 16 de Virginia que comprende la ciudad de Fredericksburg, y los condados de King George, Caroline, Spotsylvania, and Stafford, area en donde muchas de nuestras familias militares residen y van a trabajar a Quantico o a otras bases militares o al Departamento de Defensa, también prestamos servicios en español para aquellas familias militares que lo necesitan.

Llámenos y entérese de como podemos ayudarle (540) 371-5502.

 

 

RCASA Sunday with Case Management: New in June Sunday Volunteer Corner

In Advocacy, Case Management, Education, Outreach, Systems Advocacy on May 29, 2011 at 7:00 am

Hello all,

This is officially the last blog for Sunday with Case Management.  Sunday will now feature the Sunday Volunteer Corner.  It has been a pleasuring blogging.  I will close with a request…if you are in anyway interested in volunteering with RCASA please contact us for more information:  Below you will find we have several opportunities!  Thanks and have a great Memorial Day!!

RCASA will be having its summer volunteer training beginning next week, Monday June 13th, at 6pm. The training is for people who wish to volunteer on the hotline, for the hospital, and/or just to help out around the office.

Volunteer Victim Advocates are needed to provide support to the hotline and medical accompaniment program.   Volunteer experience in victim services preferred.  A commitment to 1 weekend a month and 1 evening a week required.  Volunteers must complete an initial 40 hours training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

Outreach Volunteers are needed to provide support at community health fairs and events, general presentations, and fundraising events.  Volunteer experience in community relations preferred.  Volunteers must complete an initial 25 hours training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

Office Volunteers are needed to provide general help with mailings, presentation and outreach preparation, phone support, research, blogging, and other office duties.  Experience in office support services preferred.  Volunteers must complete 10 hours of initial training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

This industry thrives on the hard work of volunteers, so please consider coming to our training and learning in depth about sexual assault issues and the services rape crisis centers like RCASA provide for victims and their families and what you can do to help.

If you are interested in the volunteer training  please email education@rcasa.org or call the office: 540.371.6771.

Recent Attack on Transgender Woman in Fredericksburg

In Education, Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 28, 2011 at 8:41 am

Last Saturday, May 21st, a woman was attacked by three (maybe four) individuals outside of a 7-11 in Fredericksburg. The assault apparently occurred following a disagreement between the victim and one or two of the attackers. This act alone warrants attention and examination as to why violence is used resulting from a disagreement. However, there are circumstances to this case that warrant increased attention. The woman who was attacked identifies as Transgender.

A general definition of “transgender” taken from the Trans & Queer Wellness Initiative:

Transgender (TG): 1. An umbrella term covering behaviors, expressions and identities that challenge the binary male/female gender system in a given culture.

2. Individuals who change their gender expression without physically or medically changing their body through hormones or surgery.

3. Anyone who transcends the conventional definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and whose self-identification or expression challenges traditional notions of “male” and “female.”

-Transgender people may include transsexuals, crossdressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, masculine-identified females, feminine-identified males, two-spirit people, MTF’s, FTM’s, transmen, transwomen, and others who cross or transgress traditional gender categories.

*It is important to recognize that not everyone agrees on the definition of Transgender, so it is best to ask how someone identifies before assuming.

The violence experienced by the Transgender population is astronomical. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that, out of all of the anti-LGBTQ murders in 2009, 50% were transgender women (and 79% of the murders were of people of color; the intersection of race and gender identity compounds an individual’s risk of being assaulted).

Because of the discrimination experienced by transgender individuals, many do not seek help when assaulted.  For transgender (and LGBQ individuals) there are many barriers to service that prevent Trans-Identified victims from coming forward and reporting. A study conducted in Wisconsin revealed that “of trans and intersex individuals…50% of respondents had been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner.”  The first national survey on LGBTQ hate violence found that 18% of the Transgender population reported being sexually assaulted/raped and 23% reported experiencing sexual harassment. The report also revealed that “95 percent of the worst incidents involved at least 2-3 perpetrators”[i]. A study in Philadelphia found that among the seventy surveyed, 72 percent of male to female transgender individuals reported “being forced to have sex; for female to male transgender individuals, the rate of sexual abuse was 29 percent”[ii]. A 1997 study in San Francisco noted of the MTF’s surveyed, 85% reported verbal abuse because of their Transgender identity and 30% reported physical abuse [iii]. In Virginia, 74% of Transgender individuals reported experiencing hate violence; 80% of Transgender FTM, 48% of Transgender MTF [iv].

The level of sexual harassment faced by LGBTQ individuals is profound. Harassment reaches extreme levels when it comes to Transgender youth. A study of transgender youth found that nine out of ten experienced verbal harassment in school and more than half faced physical harassment[v]. Harrasment of youth continues into college as rates of harassment on college campuses and perceived harassment figure at forty-one and seventy-one percent[vi]. The effects of the harassment cause many to attempt suicide, forty-one percent [of transgender respondents] reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population,  with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%)” [vii]

Many homeless individuals are LGBTQ identified, especially youth. “Coming out” may mean getting kicked out of their homes. Twenty percent of homeless youth are LGBT. Once homeless they are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices; nearly sixty percent of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized. LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates than heterosexual; sixty-two to twenty-nine[vii]. The situation doesn’t improve much for adults either. In a recent study it was revealed that transgender individuals were “nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000/year compared to the general population”[viii].

How does this relate to RCASA and Sexual Violence?

“[Rape] is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” Susan Brownmiller wrote these words in her seminal work Against Our Will. It is important to remember that rape and sexual assault, and domestic violence are about power and control, not sex.

Many LGBTQ individuals are sexually assaulted because of their actual or perceived LGBTQ status. This is an example of what is called corrective rape. Corrective rape is a term that originated from South Africa, where lesbian women were being raped in order “cure” them of their orientation. This tactic to “straighten” out LGBTQ individuals (whether actually identify as such or not) is an unfortunate fact everywhere, not just South Africa. Sexual assault in itself can be a form of hate-crime as well.

Directly related to sexual assault, is sexual harassment. Both are about power and control and they are inherently linked. Usually when we envision sexual harassment we think of a boss propositioning a subordinate for a date and threatening termination or denying a raise (or something similar), but sexual harassment also includes actions related to one’s gender identity, gender expression (and orientation), whether it is how they identify or just the perception of how they identify.

It is an unfortunate fact that many LGBTQ victims of violence, just like victims of sexual and intimate partner violence, do not report the crimes committed against them. This is true for many reasons.

  • Many communities do not have services available to adequately serve LGBTQ clients.
  • Many organizations that are supposed to help their community turn a blind eye to the LGBTQ population because of their own personal biases.
  • Some do not report fearful of giving the LGBTQ community a bad reputation.
  • By reporting, they are “outing” themselves to the community and to family and friends.
  • Laws and policies in most areas, quite frankly, aren’t effective or are totally absent for the LGBTQ identified.
  • Many blame themselves. The internalized oppression seemingly inherent to a society not quite fully accepting of everyone.
  • Many LGBTQ communities are tight-knit and revealing abusive behaviors within the community may disrupt it or ostracize the victim causing them to lose possibly the only “family” they have.

These barriers also make services that are available difficult to provide (and thus leading to the potential loss of funds).

So how do we prevent (sexual and intimate partner) violence against the Transgender population?

  • We stop using offensive words (‘Tranny’ is the most common).
  • We educate ourselves about TQI (Transgender, Queer, Intersex; I use ‘Queer’ and ‘Intersex’ here because ‘Transgender’ can mean different things to different people and ‘Intersex’ is so closely linked with ‘Transgender’, despite being different) issues.
  • We acknowledge and confront privilege in ourselves and in others (this means being open-minded and listening to the voices of the Trans, as well as LGBQ, community).
  • We recognize the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’
  • We stop grabbing (that’s sexual assault, oh btw) or asking about, someone else’s genitalia.
  • We stop treating transgender individuals like a science exhibit (you may just be curious and have good intentions, but it isn’t their job to educate you nor is it to reveal their personal lives to you and/or on your terms).
  • We don’t assume, we ask and accept the answer.
  • We support LGBTQ organizations, and protection policies. Presently, gender identity and expression as well or orientation are not covered in Virginia hate crimes law.
  • We become effective bystander’s when we see transphobic (and homophobic, heterosexist, sexist, racist, classist, ableist; these are all connected and contribute to violence everywhere) violence being committed. Violence ends when we stand up and say “this ends now.”

RCASA stands in solidarity with LGBTQ organizations and individuals against violence everywhere regardless of gender identity, gender expression, race, class, sex, ability, religion, HIV status, political affiliation, favorite color…etc. Accepting violence anywhere is acceptance of violence everywhere.

Nobody deserves to live in fear of their safety simply for trying to be who they are.

*The Virginia Anti-Violence Project Official Statement VAVP_PressRelease_2011-05-27.

*The NCAVP Official Statement of the brutal assault on Chrissy Lee Polis at a Baltimore McDonalds that garnered nation-wide attention.

[i] “Understanding the Transgendered Community: A Technical Assistance Bulletin for Sexual Assault Counselors and Advocates.” Pensylvania Coalition Against Rape 4.2 (2007): n. pag. Web. 28 May 2011. <http://www.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/UnderstandingTransCommunity.pdf&gt;.

[ii] ActionAIDS, Inc., Unity, Inc., & University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work. (1997). Needs assessment of transgendered people in Philadelphia for HIV/AIDS and other health and social services. Philadelphia, PA: The HIV Commission for the Philadelphia EMA, AIDS Activity Coordinating Office, and Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

[iii] “Transgender Issues: A Fact Sheet.” Transgender Law & Policy Institute n. pag. Web. <http://www.transgenderlaw.org/resources/transfactsheet.pdf&gt;.

[iv] “The State of Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities of Virginia.” Equality Virginia Education Fund & the Virginia Anti-Violence Project. 2008

< http://virginiaavp.corgibytes.com/documents/resources/Report.pdf>

[v] “LGBT Homeless.” National Coalition for the Homeless. 2009

< http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/lgbtq.pdf>

[vi] “Campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people: A national perspective.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.2003
<http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/CampusClimate.pdf&gt;

[vii] “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 2011

<http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_summary.pdf>

[viii] Ibid., 2011

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Sexting

In Sexual Assault Awareness on May 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thanks in part to high profile child pornography cases, and recently Brett Favre, sexting has become a part of the way the we express our sexuality, young and old(er) alike. Sexting refers to the act of sending messages and/or images via text messaging. Posting pictures and/or messages over the internet can be considered sexting as well. A recent study found that 20 percent of teens (ages 13-19), 22 percent of girls and 18 percent of boys, has sent nude or semi-nude images of themselves or posted them online.[i] Another study reported that 1 in 6 teens (ages of 12 and 17) have received nude or nearly nude pictures via text message from someone they know.[ii] Teens are not the only ones ‘sexting’ either, adults are sexting as well.

Virginia has seen its share of sexting cases in the past few years. Last year two boys, ages 15 and 18, in Spotsylvania County were charged with possession of child pornography. The boys had pictures of three girls, ages 12, 13, and 16.[iii] Five teens have recently been charged in Rocky Mount, VA under child pornography charges as well. Possession and/or distribution of child pornography is a felony in the state of Virginia.

Teens may ‘sext’ with their partner and that message(s) may be private until the relationship is ended, then the picture(s) me be spread to friends or over the internet. Some may be blackmailed or otherwise intimidated into cooperating.[iv] They may also send pictures as a way of flirting. As we have seen with Favre, sexting can also be a form of harassment. Sex is often viewed as a method to obtain partners, or keep them, to attain status (more for boys than girls), and so, teens may feel (or be pressured) that participating is the way to be loved and feel attractive.

Having your private images spread to friends, throughout your school, and/or over the internet can be just as devastating as being assaulted. It is a clear violation of one’s bodily integrity. The victim may have consented to the picture being sent to their partner, but they didn’t intend for it to be spread around school. Jesse Logan, a teen, in Ohio committed suicide after a ‘sext’ she sent to her boyfriend was forwarded around her school after the two broke up. Logan was repeatedly harassed and called a ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ by other teens at her school because of the pictures.[v]

How do we prevent ‘sexting’?

We talk about it.

Talk to your kids about ‘sexting;’

  • the Dangers (someone else could see it, how quickly images can spread);
  • the Law (it may be considered child pornography and thus illegal);
  • Healthy sexuality (consent, coercion, trust);
  • Communication (between you and your child, and your child and his/her friends/partners).

Begin early in your child’s development building a foundation for open and honest communication with them. This will ensure, or at least make it more likely, that when there is a problem that they will feel comfortable coming to you about it. This will also aid in their other relationships (friends and partners).

I think that it is important to remember that as our society changes, in this case change is expedited via technology, that sexuality and social interaction will change as well. As a whole, we are all under virtually constant surveillance and are also bombarded with images from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep. From the security cameras in stores to 24-hour news service, from GPS to Instant Messaging on our phones, our images are no longer private. This mixed with the nature of adolescent identity forming leads to unhealthy boundaries and expectations. This is not to say that ‘sexting’ should be encouraged, but rather that when teens participate (assuming there is no coercion) that we should be understanding and not judgmental. We need to talk to our kids about healthy sexuality, when we don’t we get ‘sexting’ and assault.

In its 2004 Teens and Parents project, the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “found that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 — to 63% in fall of 2006 and to 71% in early 2008.”

Clearly, kids are going to continue have phones and technology is going to evolve and so will the ways in which individuals interact, and thus how we can be hurt.


[iii] Coffey, C. (2009, March 12). More charges could come in sexting case. Retrieved from http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/031209_spotsylvania_sexting_case

[iv] Englander, E.K. (2010, January 18). ‘Sexting’ blackmail. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2010/01/18/sexting_blackmail/

[v] Celizic, M. (2009, March 6). Her teen commited suicide over ‘sexting’ . MSNBC, Retrieved from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29546030/

Upcoming RCASA Volunteer Training. CORRECTION

In Sexual Assault Awareness on May 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

RCASA will be having its summer volunteer training beginning next week, Monday June 13th, at 6pm. The training is for people who wish to volunteer on the hotline, for the hospital, and/or just to help out around the office.

Volunteer Victim Advocates are needed to provide support to the hotline and medical accompaniment program.   Volunteer experience in victim services preferred.  A commitment to 1 weekend a month and 1 evening a week required.  Volunteers must complete an initial 40 hours training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

Outreach Volunteers are needed to provide support at community health fairs and events, general presentations, and fundraising events.  Volunteer experience in community relations preferred.  Volunteers must complete an initial 25 hours training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

Office Volunteers are needed to provide general help with mailings, presentation and outreach preparation, phone support, research, blogging, and other office duties.  Experience in office support services preferred.  Volunteers must complete 10 hours of initial training and participate in quarterly update trainings annually.

This industry thrives on the hard work of volunteers, so please consider coming to our training and learning in depth about sexual assault issues and the services rape crisis centers like RCASA provide for victims and their families and what you can do to help.

If you are interested in the volunteer training  please email volunteer@rcasa.org or call the office: 540.371.5581.

RCASA’s Therapy Thursday: Male survivors of sexual abuse

In Sexual Assault Awareness on May 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

Lately, the topic of male survivors of childhood sexual abuse have been seen more throughout the media.  Oprah is reshowing her interviews with Tyler Perry as he addresses the sexual abuse that he endured as a child, and then replaying her two-part series displaying 200 male survivors.  Senator Scott Brown recently released a book which describes being sexually abused by a camp counselor in his youth.  Throughout research and media coverage it is becoming more widely accepted that boys are also at high risk of being victimized by sexual violence, but there are still obstacles that many survivors feel stand between them and disclosure and seeking treatment. 

Research shows that there are some feelings that are more unique to male survivors than their female counterparts.  While a sexual assault leaves both genders feeling as though power and control were taken away from them; male survivors live in a society that dictates that these are key components to what it means to be male.  Therefore, they are left without a sense of power and control and possibly questioning their ‘fulfillment’ of the gender.  Many male survivors who were assaulted by males are also left questioning their sexuality.  And since research shows that many perpetrators were themselves victimized, many male survivors state that they are afraid to disclose abuse for fear that society will think that they might perpetrate against others.

Like female survivors, males who have been assaulted tend to look for validation of their abuse from fellow survivors.  Male survivors can seek this validation through literature, such as Senator Brown’s new book, media outlets such as the abovementioned Oprah shows, or online forums such as www.malesurvivor.org, or face-to-face contact with other survivors.   Research shows that such validation can come from male survivor groups; Kali Munro, M.Ed. states that “while individual therapy may be best suited to the initial stages of treatment, it is the group experience that is the most powerful tool for healing and change.”

RCASA is beginning such an experience for male survivors of sexual abuse by creating a male centered survivor support group.  The groups will address key issues related to sexual assault and highlight those that are unique to male survivors.  For more questions, or to register, please call 540-371-6771.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Prevention: Street Harassment

In Sexual Assault Awareness on May 24, 2011 at 7:37 am

We all know the stereotypes, a woman walks past a construction site and is the target of catcalls. This is called street harassment. Recently this form of harassment has gained attention in the media as women all across the country are standing up and confronting their attackers. This harassment is not new, and exceptionally common, the first study dedicated to street harassment found that 100% of women surveyed reported being harassed—yes, one-hundred-percent, ALL of them (Gardner, 1995). With the addition of cameras on cell phones, women are getting pictures and videos of their harassers and posting them online. Hollaback, a website dedicated to taking back the streets, posts these stories, pictures, and videos in an effort to not only get the names and faces of their attackers out but also to raise awareness of this issue, and the vile and often violent nature of these attacks.

Some assert that women should just ignore these attacks, turn the other cheek, or worse—be flattered. What silence and acceptance of these attacks does is create and maintain a culture in which gender-based violence is acceptable. It minimizes the experiences of these women. More sinister is that these instances of harassment can be forms of rape-testing, that is seeing how far one can go as a means of judging their fitness as a potential rape victim.

RCASA cannot advocate that everyone challenge harassers, the risk of violence is just too great. But what we can advocate is standing up for oneself, and standing up for others when you see this kind of behavior. If a harasser is confronted by not just their victim, but everyone else around them, they’ll be out numbered and adequately shamed for their abhorrent behavior.

This harassment is not limited to just women, LGBTQ individuals(whether they are or are just perceived as such) also deal with this harassment on a daily basis. It too is abhorrent and worthy of ‘hollerin back.’

Hollaback groups are being started across the globe, including one in Richmond. This movement against harassment is gaining strength and people are taking notice.

Carol Brooks Gardner, Passing By: Gender and Public Harassment (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995), 89-90

Secuestro de Menores puede atentar contra su integridad física

In Hispanic/Latino, Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on May 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Reproducido y modificado de: http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/noticia/99875/eeuu-preocupado-por-secuestros-de-ninos-en-la-frontera-con-mexico/

 

EE.UU preocupado por secuestros de niños en la frontera con México

HERRAMIENTAS

El secuestro de niños en la frontera entre EE.UU. y México ha aumentado debido a que ahora son blanco de venganzas entre delincuentes o tomados como garantía de pago de deudas, según el Centro Nacional de Niños Extraviados y Explotados (NCMEC – National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).

“Estamos muy preocupados ante el aumento de secuestros, especialmente en la frontera”, dijo a Efe Ernie Allen, director de NCMEC, sin dar cifras.

Allen indicó que en fechas recientes se han registrado numerosos casos de secuestros de menores de edad en Texas, California, Arizona e, incluso, Nevada, por venganzas o como garantía de pago de alguna deuda por miembros del crimen organizado.

“Hemos encontrado que estos casos no siempre son reportados a las autoridades”, dijo Allen.

Según datos de esta organización, anualmente se dan aproximadamente 200 secuestros (niños y adultos) en el sector estadounidense de la frontera relacionados con el crimen organizado y un promedio de cuatro a seis semanales en territorio mexicano.

Adicionalmente, dijo, 20.000 inmigrantes que viajan de Centroamérica a Estados Unidos son secuestrados anualmente en México y son extorsionados, asaltados y víctimas de abusos.

El NCMEC no cuenta con estadísticas anuales, pero Allen afirmó que mientras que en México se reportan 45.000 niños extraviados al año, en Estados Unidos la cifra es de 800.000.

Allen señaló que debido a la alta incidencia de niños secuestrados en territorio estadounidense y trasladados ilícitamente a México o viceversa, el centro realiza gestiones para extender la Alerta Ámbar que rige en EE.UU. a ciudades fronterizas mexicanas.

Esta Alerta Ámbar binacional funciona ya en el área de California-Baja California, en donde se ha logrado en el último año la recuperación de 20 menores.

La alerta se activa a los pocos minutos del secuestro de un menor y las autoridades locales dan aviso a los medios de comunicación electrónicos que a su vez inicien transmisiones urgentes que dan a conocer a la ciudadanía la desaparición y la descripción del niño.

El directivo del NCMEC afirmó que esta alerta es necesaria especialmente en ciudades fronterizas como Ciudad Juárez, que colinda con El Paso, porque dada la cercanía de los dos países en esos puntos, un niño secuestrado puede ser sacado del país e ingresado a México en los cinco a 15 minutos posteriores al rapto.

“En estos casos, si no hay Alerta Ámbar en México de qué sirve la Alerta Ámbar en El Paso”, cuestionó el directivo, quien agregó que después de las tres horas de ocurrido un secuestro, disminuye la posibilidad de que el menor sea encontrado con vida.

Indicó que actualmente se investigan 558 casos de menores sustraídos en Estados Unidos y retenidos en México, en algunos casos por el padre que no tiene la custodia legal.

De acuerdo con el cónsul de México en El Paso, Roberto Rodríguez Hernández, la mayoría de estas investigaciones tiene que ver con la retención ilegal de un menor residente en Estados Unidos en territorio mexicano.

La situación es común, anotó el cónsul, porque gran parte de los residentes fronterizos son mexicanos o tienen fuertes lazos en México y después de una separación o un divorcio alguno de los padres regresa con el niño a territorio mexicano.

Estos casos, dijo el diplomático, son resueltos a través de la Convención de Aspectos civiles de la Sustracción Internacional de Menores, que forma parte del Tratado Internacional de la Haya.

El tratado establece que el menor debe ser devuelto a su lugar de residencia permanente.

Allen indicó que el 45 por ciento de los menores sustraídos ilegalmente de Estados Unidos se encuentra en México y el 38 por ciento de los menores secuestrados en México y llevados al extranjero se encuentra en EE.UU.

“Sería interesante estudiar cómo funciona la Alerta Ámbar en Baja California para estimar la posibilidad de que se extienda a otras ciudades fronterizas mexicanas”, dijo Rodríguez.

Como podemos ver casi diariamente en los noticieros locales o nacionales estos secuestros son casi frecuentes especialmente cuando los niños tratan de cruzar la frontera con coyotes o personas de bajos escrúpulos que se aprovechan del poco dinero que puede recolectar la familia que vive en Estados Unidos para traer a sus hijos.

Recopilación y modificación de este artículo es una cortesía del Concilio Rappahannock Contra el Asalto Sexual, Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, RCASA

(540) 371-5502

RCASA’s Sundays with Case Management: “Beading”: International Sexual Assault ?

In Advocacy, Case Management, Sexual Assault Awareness, Systems Advocacy on May 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

Isiolo, Kenya (CNN) — “Josephine” is 12 years old and several months pregnant.

She’s a member of the Samburu tribe, living in a small village in a remote part of Isiolo in Kenya’s Eastern Province. The pre-teen, whose identity is being protected, claims she had sex with a relative — a rape sanctioned by the Samburu, through a practice called “beading.”

Intricate beaded necklaces are a symbol of the Kenyan nation. But to young Samburu girls, the necklaces are a symbol not of national pride, but something much darker, that can lead to rape, unwanted pregnancies — and even the deaths of newborns, according to activist Josephine Kulea and the Samburu tribe itself.

In “beading,” a close family relative will approach a girl’s parents with red Samburu beads and place the necklace around the girl’s neck.

“Effectively he has booked her,” says Kulea, a member of the Samburu herself. “It is like a (temporary) engagement, and he can then have sex with her.” Girls are also “beaded” as an early marriage promise by non-relatives.

Some girls who are “beaded” are no more than 6 years old. They are the focus of Kulea’s rescue mission, a trip to Isiolo she’s been planning for weeks.

Samburu culture dictates that girls be engaged to a relative, she says, and they are allowed to have sex with him. But “they are not allowed to get pregnant and there is no preventative measures,” she says. “At the end of the day, most girls get pregnant … and these (infants) end up dying or being killed or being given away.”

When they reach adulthood, Samburu girls will marry outside of their village, but taboo dictates the girls will never be able to marry if they keep their babies resulting from beading.

Some girls, she says, undergo a crude abortion before their pregnancy advances. Others hide their condition until it is too late for that. “They let them give birth, but only to kill these babies,” Kulea says.

If the girls are lucky, their babies are given away to strangers. “Most of these girls are traumatized,” Kulea says, and some get infections from the crude abortions.

Philip Lemantile, the father of 14-year-old Nasuto, says beading is aimed at stopping promiscuity among young girls.

“This is our culture,” he says. “It is part of us. And we have been practicing it, and we accept that these girls should be beaded, and sometimes the girls just get pregnant.”

Kulea calls that a bad cultural practice.

“For any change that comes by, we have to have a start,” she says. “And this is the start.”

But the start is traumatic for the Samburu, as the girls are taken away from their families and put in a shelter. Their babies are placed in orphanages.

Still, Kulea says, it’s better than staying.

“I just felt that it is wrong,” she says. “Something wrong is going on in my community. And that is where my passion began. And so I decided to help out the girls.”

reference: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/05/11/kenya.children.beading/index.html?iref=NS1

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