Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Male Survivor

In Therapy on June 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

Male survivors of sexual assault/abuse experience many of the same reactions and symptoms as females: guilt, shame, and anger.  They too engage in self-destructive behavior such as using alcohol or drugs and other self injurious behavior.  Male survivors also tend to exhibit increased aggressiveness toward others, such as getting in physical fights as well as isolating in relationships.  Unfortunately for the male survivor, many of these symptoms often get brushed off by society as “just being guys”.   This means the male survivor may not get recognized as exhibiting symptoms from trauma and so therefore may not be engaged in therapy.

And then we as providers need to ask:  are all men the same?  And how well does your program recognize this?

Gay men have some reactions and pressures from sexual assault different from the heterosexual male and transgender have more unique concerns to address.   Heterosexual men who are sexually assaulted may fear they are gay or will “turn gay”, they may experience confusion about or question their sexuality, they may believe sexual assault changes their sexual identity, and feel encumbered by myths about masculinity that prohibits them from reporting and/or seeking prosecution.   Gay man may feel they deserved to be assaulted as the price for their sexual orientation, they may experience increased internal conflict about their sexuality and are less likely to report than non-gay males due to reactions from society.  Additionally sexual assault is often a part of hate crimes against gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.  Transgender may be more at risk for sexual violence and have more obstacles to reporting.  Transgender are often misgendered to incorrect services and the increased discrimination they experience in society often results in reduced access to jobs, housing, income, and insurance that impacts their ability to access services.

Cultural differences also impact the male survivor of sexual assault.  Latino-American males report higher mental health issues from sexual assault than other ethnic groups.  Honor and shame are central concepts in many Latino cultures that result in inhibition to reporting sexual violence.  In America, Latinos have many barriers to accessing services such as language differences, lack of income equality, and lack of transportation that creates a community without effective access to law enforcement, social services, and mental health services.

African-American males have a history of sexual victimization from slave days.  This has resulted in learned behavior of bravado passed down culturally to minimize and mask the reality of sexual abuse.  In the African-American community in the US, there remains a long standing history of distrust of social institutions, that results in a community that, too, has ineffective access to law enforcement, social services, and mental health services.

Males, generally, who have been abused, are more likely to be seen in the criminal justice system than the mental health system.  Again this puts the male survivor in a situation that only reinforces the barriers to appropriate services, encourages the continuation of disabling or harmful symptoms, and encourages the use of inappropriate externalization of rage.

As centers, it’s time to turn a focused lens on the male survivor and develop the needed programs to outreach them, to identify their specific needs, and to provide the appropriate services.   RCASA is starting a peer supervision group for rape crisis centers who serve male survivors of violence.

Contact RCASA at counselingservices@rcasa.org  or 540-371-5502  Contact person is Megan Jaquith.

Wednesday Outreach: Hearts for Healing

In Fundraisers, Outreach on June 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

RCASA is recruiting Knitters and Fabric Artists to donate hearts for our Hospital Response kits that we provide Sexual Assault Survivors.

The Hospital Response Kits contain new clothing, journals and a Coping with Sexual Assault Booklet.  The cost for these kits is approximately $30.00 so please recruit your friends and family to fund the bag your heart goes in! 

Here is the pattern for the knit Hearts!


Approximately 3” high x 2 1/2” wide (after fulling)


1 Hank BERROCO PERUVIA (100 grs), #7132 Tomate

Note: 1 hank will make approximately 15 hearts

Straight knitting needles, size 9 OR SIZE TO OBTAIN GAUGE

1 St holder

Small amount polyester stuffing

Tapestry needle


18 sts = 4”; 24 rows = 4” in St st

Berroco® Free Pattern | Heartfelt 02/07/2008 09:49 AM

http://www.berroco.com/exclusives/heartfelt/heartfelt.html Page 2 of 2



With straight needles, cast on 4 sts. Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

Inc Row 1 (RS): (K1, M1k) 3 times, k1 – 7 sts. Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

Inc Row 2 (RS): (K1, M1k) 6 times, k1 – 13 sts. Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

Inc Row 3 (RS): (K1, M1k) 12 times, k1 – 25 sts. (Purl 1 row, knit 1 row) twice, purl

1 row.

1st Hump: Next Row (RS): K12, M1k, sl remaining 13 sts to holder – 13 sts. Turn.

Cast on 3 sts, p to end – 16 sts. Knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

Dec Row 1 (RS): (K1, k2 tog) 5 times, k1 – 11 sts. Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1


Dec Row 2 (RS): (K2 tog) 5 times, k1 – 6 sts. Break off yarn leaving an 8” long end.

Thread end into tapestry needle and draw through all sts on needle. Pull up tightly and

secure. Sew seam down to cast-on sts.

2nd Hump: With RS facing, pick up 3 sts in 3 cast-on sts, then k13 sts from holder –

16 sts. Complete same as 1st Hump. Sew seam to 1” from bottom. Stuff heart, then

sew remaining seam.


Felt heart in washing machine using soap and hot water. Because heart is stuffed, it

will not felt completely, but will “full”. This process makes the stitches fuller and fluffier

but you will still be able to define each stitch.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Prevention: Hollaback!

In Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on June 28, 2011 at 7:29 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 confront their 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. Here is a link to Hollaback RVA’s Facebook page (be sure to ‘Like’ their page, they are trying to get 100 ‘Like’s’ by the end of the month). The official launch for the Richmond group is August 10th. This movement against harassment is gaining strength and people are taking notice.

Hollaback is presently developing a tag-along campaign aimed at bystander intervention called ‘I’ve Got Your Back!’

In 1998 a woman took to the streets with a video camera and recorded men verbally harassing her in an effort to raise awareness about harassment and sexism, the documentary is called War Zone. you can find a clip of the film here.

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

Especial para mujeres inmigrantes

In Hispanic/Latino on June 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

Si eres una mujer inmigrante en los Estados Unidos y sufres violencia doméstica o fuiste víctima de violación, aquí te ofrecemos algunas sugerencias que esperamos te resulten útiles.

1. Tú mereces ayuda y, como víctima de un crimen, tienes derecho a todos los mismos servicios para víctimas de crímenes como lo tiene cualquier persona nacida en los Estados Unidos. Por favor, no seas tímida en cuanto a llamar a la policía, utilizar los albergues para mujeres, llamar a los centros de atención a la crisis por violación, solicitar fondos de asistencia a víctimas o acudir a clínicas de órdenes de restricción. No es necesario que reveles tu situación migratoria para recibir estos servicios y es poco probable que te pregunten al respecto.

Si aún tienes miedo de llamar para pedir ayuda pues temes que las autoridades pudieran deportarte, he aquí lo que tú o un/a amigo/a pueden hacer. Por ejemplo, pueden llamar a la policía y, sin revelar tu nombre, decir algo como esto: “Tengo una amiga que es víctima de violencia doméstica, pero tiene miedo de llamar a la policía pues es inmigrante en los Estados Unidos y carece de documentos. Si mi amiga les llama para pedir ayuda y ustedes descubren que no tiene documentos, ¿qué harán?”

Recuerda, sin embargo, que sólo te sugerimos esto para que puedas convencerte de que no serás deportada. Es cierto que, en el pasado, algunas mujeres inmigrantes tuvieron este problema. Pero en la actualidad, las agencias que brindan servicios a víctimas de crímenes no exigen que te encuentres legalmente en los Estados Unidos para que recibas esos servicios. En una reciente encuesta que realizamos con defensores de víctimas a lo largo del país, ninguna de esas personas dijo conocer, en los últimos cinco años, un solo caso que involucrara a una mujer sin documentos que hubiera sido reportada al Servicio de Inmigración y Naturalización (INS) después de haber llamado a la policía para pedir ayuda o haber acudido a los servicios para víctimas.

2. ¿Qué ocurre si la persona que está abusando de ti te dice que llamará al INS y logrará que te deporten si llamas a la policía o tratas de conseguir ayuda? Es sumamente común que los hombres violentos expresen este tipo de amenazas a las mujeres inmigrantes que son sus víctimas. Sin embargo, es virtualmente imposible que tales amenazas tengan éxito. De acuerdo con nuestros conocimientos y nuestra experiencia, el INS no actúa basándose en llamadas de un individuo que acude a éste para reportar que otra persona se encuentra ilegalmente en los Estados Unidos.

Es importante tomar en serio las amenazas de los hombres. Pero en el caso de esta común amenaza expresada por hombres abusivos -que dicen que te reportarán al INS y conseguirán que te deporten-, ellos sencillamente no pueden tener éxito, de manera que no permitas que esa amenaza impida que busques ayuda.

Por otro lado, si dependes de tu esposo para solicitar tu tarjeta verde y él está abusando de ti o te amenaza con detener la solicitud si lo abandonas, recuerda que, según la ley federal de los Estados Unidos, las mujeres inmigrantes que son víctimas de maltrato tienen el derecho a dejar al esposo abusivo y continuar por sí mismas el trámite de solicitud. El personal de los albergues para mujeres maltratadas y de los centros de atención a la crisis por violación pueden decirte cómo hacerlo.

3. Si aún tienes miedo de buscar ayuda, pídele a otra persona que haga las llamadas por ti y que te acompañe en tus visitas a la policía y a otro personal de atención de crisis. De hecho, es una buena idea tener a alguien a tu lado tan frecuentemente como sea posible cuando recibes ayuda en casos de violencia doméstica y de violación. Contar con la compañía de una persona de confianza te hace sentir más segura, te ayuda a recordar información y reduce de manera significativa el riesgo de que los oficiales te traten mal o ignoren tus necesidades. Esto es cierto aun si la persona que te acompaña no habla una palabra de inglés o no tiene idea de cómo funciona el sistema.

4. ¿Y si no se te ocurre ninguna persona que pueda acompañarte o hacer llamadas por ti? Es muy común que los perpetradores de violencia doméstica y los violadores consigan exitosamente aislarte de otros contactos humanos. Esto es especialmente fácil para ellos si acabas de llegar a los Estados Unidos. Aquí te ofrecemos algunas sugerencias a fin de encontrar personas que puedan ayudarte a hacer llamadas o acompañarte para buscar asistencia. Recuerda que no necesitas contarles todo para solicitar su ayuda. Di, simplemente, algo como: “¿Podría usted llamar a este número por mí y preguntar si ahí hay alguien que hable español?” o “He sido víctima de un crimen y necesito ir a la corte. ¿Sería posible que usted cuide a mis niños esta tarde?” o “Mi esposo abusa de mí y necesito que alguien me lleve a la policía”.

Algunas personas a quienes deberías considerar acudir cuando necesites ayuda para hacer llamadas, conseguir transporte o cuidados infantiles por una tarde, podrían ser miembros de la familia, amistades, vecinas/os, tu ministro o sacerdote, personas en tu congregación religiosa, compañeras/os de trabajo o maestras/os de tus hijas e hijos. Aun cuando no conozcas bien a esa persona, si tu intuición te indica que es generosa, probablemente estará dispuesta a ayudarte.

Y no olvides llamar a la operadora telefónica para conseguir el número del centro para violencia doméstica o de atención a la crisis por violación en tu localidad. Estos centros tienen líneas telefónicas para atención de crisis que funcionan las 24 horas del día y la mayoría de las veces cuentan con personal que habla español. Y si tienes miedo de llamar, pídele a una amiga o amigo que lo haga por ti.

5. Insiste en contar con buenas traducciones La Constitución de los Estados Unidos estipula que a toda persona se le debe brindar una protección legal igualitaria. En repetidas ocasiones, las cortes han dictaminado que esto se aplica a todas las personas, desde las que nacieron en este país hasta aquéllas que acaban de inmigrar, ya sea que posean o no la documentación apropiada. Cada ser humano que reside en los Estados Unidos tiene el derecho a una protección igualitaria de las leyes.

Las cortes también han dictaminado que a fin de garantizar la protección igualitaria para todas las personas, las agencias públicas deben proveer una adecuada traducción para quienes no hablan inglés. Esto significa que cuando tú usas o necesitas los servicios de agencias públicas tales como la policía, las cortes y los centros de asistencia a víctimas, tienes derecho a contar con un intérprete.

Por numerosas razones, las traducciones de alta calidad son especialmente importantes para las mujeres víctimas de violencia. Tu seguridad inmediata depende de que el oficial comprenda plenamente lo que estás diciendo. Además, tus declaraciones a la policía son la evidencia central en el caso criminal, por lo que deben ser reportadas de manera exacta. Y dado que es tan importante que te sientas completamente libre de relatarle todo a ese oficial, la policía no debería utilizar a otros miembros de tu familia o a vecinos para que traduzcan tu historia tan personal.

He aquí algunas otras cosas que pueden ayudarte a comprender mejor tu derecho a contar con una buena interpretación en tus trámites con la policía:

  • Cuando llames al 911, si no hablas inglés, indícale al operador cuál es tu idioma. Todos los operadores de la línea 911 tienen acceso telefónico inmediato a intérpretes profesionales altamente calificados en muchos idiomas. No debería pasar más de medio minuto antes de que esa persona llegue al teléfono. ¡No cuelgues!

    Cuando el intérprete se una a ti y al operador en la línea, quédate en la línea y responde todas las preguntas ofreciendo tanta información como te sea posible. ¡No te guardes nada! Los intérpretes de la línea 911 son siempre excelentes. El intérprete transmitirá al operador de la línea 911 lo que tú le hayas dicho, y el operador lo transmitirá a los oficiales que van en camino en respuesta a tu llamada.

    Continúa hablando. Cuéntales al intérprete y al operador de la línea 911 tanto como puedas acerca de tu situación; diles lo que el perpetrador te ha dicho y hecho; háblales sobre tus temores, y diles si el perpetrador te ha lastimado anteriormente. Trata de continuar hablando en la línea 911 hasta que los oficiales de policía lleguen a tu puerta.

  • Cuando la policía llegue, pregúntale al oficial o a la agente si habla tu idioma. Si esta persona habla bien tu idioma, cuéntale todo. Si no habla bien tu idioma, o no lo habla en absoluto, dile tan bien como puedas que quieres tener un intérprete.

    Aunque tienes el derecho a un buen servicio de traducción de parte de la policía, la realidad es que algunos oficiales aún no toman seriamente esa obligación. Debes estar alerta en cuanto a que los agentes de policía que responden a tu llamada tienen acceso al mismo servicio de intérpretes por vía telefónica como lo tiene el operador de la línea 911. La policía puede usar cualquier teléfono para llamar al servicio de intérpretes: puede usar un teléfono celular, el teléfono en tu casa o el de cualquier lugar donde te encuentres. Entonces, presiona a los oficiales tanto como puedas a fin de que consigan un intérprete para ti.

  • Si un agente de policía intenta utilizar como intérprete a un miembro de tu familia, a algún vecino o a cualquier otra persona que viva en tu casa, dile a esta persona que le diga al oficial que quieres un intérprete por vía telefónica para poder sentir más comodidad y para que el oficial pueda entenderte bien. Tu vida merece esa precisión.

  • Si el oficial no te consigue un intérprete profesional, algo que puedes hacer es tomar una hoja de papel y escribir tu declaración en tu propio idioma y luego entregársela al oficial. De esta manera, si el oficial no te entiende, habrá una declaración exacta en el reporte de la policía.

  • Otra cosa que puedes hacer si el oficial no te entiende es llamar de nuevo a la línea 911, ya sea que el oficial todavía esté contigo o si ya se ha retirado. Cuando el intérprete llegue a la línea, dile que el oficial de policía no te entendió. Luego relátale toda la información importante que te interesa que la policía conozca.

  • Un asunto clave que debes recordar es que los intérpretes que están disponibles en las llamadas a la línea 911 son siempre de alta calidad profesional. Tu seguridad depende de una buena comunicación y tienes el derecho a esa buena comunicación. Entonces, si la policía no te entiende completamente, no vaciles ni un segundo en llamar a la línea 911 tantas veces como lo necesites para que tu historia sea comunicada y tu seguridad pueda ser garantizada

6. Recuerda que las comunicaciones telefónicas en los Estados Unidos suelen ser mecanizadas. A menudo, cuando haces una llamada en el país, en lugar de ser atendida por una persona te responderá una máquina contestadora o el sistema de correo de voz. Es muy importante que dejes grabados tus mensajes. Comunica la información clara y lentamente, y de igual manera di tu nombre y número de teléfono. Recuerda que el mensaje será escuchado por alguien que quizás no conozca perfectamente el español y tratará de escribir tus datos. Siempre deja información completa acerca de cuándo sería el mejor momento para que te llamen de vuelta. Y si no quieres que te llamen cuando tu esposo esté en casa, asegúrate de dejar también esa información en tu mensaje.

7. ¿Qué ocurre si vas a la policía o acudes a personal de atención a crisis y estas personas no te brindan la ayuda que necesitas o te tratan mal? ¡No te des por vencida! Es cierto que hay personas incompetentes en cada ocupación; también las hay racistas, holgazanas y sexistas. Pero también es un hecho que, probablemente en esa misma oficina, existen personas competentes, respetuosas y muy colaboradoras. Entonces, si te atiende alguien que te trata mal, llama de nuevo en otro turno, o pídele a un/a amigo/a que llame al jefe de esa persona. Pero, por favor, no te des por vencida. ¡Tú mereces ayuda! Así que sigue pidiéndola hasta que la recibas.

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Volunteer on June 26, 2011 at 8:27 am

Volunteer Opportunity at RCASA!

RCASA’s Executive Director has come up with a great way for you to volunteer some time…from home!

We are currently recruiting yarn and fabric artists to make small heart pillows to be included in our rape recovery kits.  We take these kits out to the hospital for survivors of sexually violent crimes seeking medical care and forensic examination.  If you are interested in making small hearts or heart pillows please get cracking and you can drop them off at, or mail them to:

The Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault

2601 Princess Anne Street, Suite 102

Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

Hearts for Healing flyerWith your permission, we will list you on our website!

E-mail us for patterns if you need one!


Anger in Activism

In Sexual Assault Awareness on June 25, 2011 at 7:38 am

Saturday’s blog “I Get Angry Sometimes…” was basically a long rant. A good rant if I do say so myself.

But the anger displayed in that blog will get you nowhere when it comes to activism.

We’re all angry at something. Everyone working in a social justice field has some level of anger about something. Anger is a normal reaction. Who wouldn’t be angry if they heard an 11-year old was gang-raped and later blamed for the assault. There comes a point, however, in which anger becomes detrimental. Detrimental to the individual personally and detrimental to them professionally.

When I wrote the blog on Saturday, I was expressing what was going on in my head hearing this news and reading some of the articles around the incident. I gave a presentation on Wednesday and used what happened, and the NY Times article, to facilitate a discussion about victim blaming. I am, and will always be angry about what happened and the response, and all prior and future instances where victims are blamed. My anger exists on two levels really. One level is what you (hopefully) read on Saturday. The other is the level on which I move on and I use the event to facilitate a discussion; I use it for educational purposes.

Anger is key to social justice movements. If we aren’t angry we likely do not have the intense passion necessary for success. Burnout also becomes an issue; our anger can consume us (because we hear about these kinds of things daily, and sometimes from the victims themselves) and so we become ineffective and eventually we must quit (at least for a while). When anger crosses the plane, the line, between normal or healthy anger to a consuming force that takes over someones life, it has become detrimental. Practice in dealing with one’s anger is helpful in diffusing and reducing the harmful impact of anger; taking a deep breath, counting to ten, whatever works for an individual.

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Date Rape Drugs and Their Effects

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on June 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

“Date Rape” Drugs

Rohypnol (pronounced “ro-hip-nol”), Gamma Hydroxybutrate (commonly called GHB), Ketamine, and Gama Butyrolactone (commonly called GBL), are the more common drugs that have been used to commit sexual assaults. Although most of these drugs are illegal in the United States (Ketamine has certain legal uses), cases involving these “date-rape drugs” are becoming more common in both university and off campus settings. Most often, the perpetrator will slip the drug into an unsuspecting person’s drink. When the drug begins to take effect, the victim’s inhibitions will be lowered, and they may appear intoxicated whether or not they are actually drunk. The victim may experience any and/or all of the following symptoms: nausea, dizziness, paralysis or “heaviness” of limbs, tunnel vision or other visual disturbances and respiratory problems. When mixed with alcohol, narcotics, or other depressants, the effects of these drugs are intensified and may cause temporary amnesia, blackouts, coma, or death.

Rohypnol is a hypnotic sedative ten times more powerful than Valium. It previously came in the form of a white, dime-sized pill that quickly dissolves in liquids and has no taste or odor. The drug-maker, Hoffman-LaRoche, has changed the makeup of the drug because it has been used to commit sexual assault. The newer form of Rohypnol now dissolves more slowly and releases a blue dye. It may color light-colored drinks and give a cloudy appearance to darker drinks. It is important to remember that the older, less visible form of Rohypnol may still be in use by some perpetrators. Other names for Rohypnol include Roofies, Roaches, Rope, and the Forget Pill.

Potential Effects:

  • disorientation, dizziness, and/or drowsiness beginning within 15 minutes to 1 hour after ingestion;
  • hot or cold flashes;
  • difficulty speaking;
  • partial paralysis or heaviness in the limbs;
  • partial or complete inability to remember what happened after ingesting the drug;
  • severe “hang over” effects for up to 48 hours after ingestion, which may include headache, nausea, and dizziness.

GHB is a sedative. It is usually homemade and sold on the black market. Like Rohypnol, GHB has made its way into the Rave and club scenes, as well as to college campuses. It is a colorless, odorless substance that comes in many forms including pill, powder, and most commonly, liquid. GHB sometimes has a salty taste. Other names for GHB include Liquid X, Easy Lay, Liquid Ecstasy, and Saltwater.

Potential Effects:

  • behavioral changes similar to those associated with extreme drunkenness beginning 5 to 20 minutes after ingestion;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • dizziness;
  • memory impairment;
  • loss of consciousness.

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic used mainly by veterinarians, although it can be used as a human anesthetic in low doses. The powder form of Ketamine can be snorted, mixed into drinks, or smoked; the liquid form can be injected, mixed into drinks, or applied to smoking materials. Other names for Ketamine include Special K, K, and KitKat.

Potential Effects:

  • feelings of dissociation such as feeling separated from your body;
  • hallucinations;
  • inability to feel pain;
  • decreased heart rate and/or heart failure;
  • decreased oxygen to the muscles and brain.

GBL was sold over the counter as a dietary supplement with claims that it builds muscle, enhances sexual performance, and reduces stress. It is often sold in health food stores under names such as Firewater, Regenerize, and Revivarant. GBL comes in both a powder and liquid form, and is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. When GBL is ingested, it breaks down into the drug GHB (see above description) and has the same dangerous effects. Because it breaks down into GHB, GBL is illegal by law. When enough of the drug is ingested, it can cause periods of deep sleep or coma, amnesia, and vomiting.

Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act

In 1996, the “Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act” was enacted. This bill outlaws the use of Rohypnol, GHB, and other “date-rape drugs” and subjects rapists to an additional 20 years in prison if they are convicted of using these drugs to incapacitate their victims. The law also covers possession, manufacture, or distribution of an illegal drug with intent to use it in commission of a violent crime. Simple possession of these drugs with no proven intent to commit assault carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Steps to Reduce Your Risk Of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

The perpetrator of sexual assault is solely responsible for committing the assault, victims are not at fault. There are steps that we all can take to reduce our risk of assault.

  • Go out with and stay with friends – perpetrators isolate the victim to make committing a sexual assault easier.
  • Keep your drink with you at all times – setting it down for even a second is enough time for someone to tamper with it.
  • Get your own drinks – even if you know the person who is offering the drinks.
  • Avoid punch bowls – or other drinks that are highly accessible to being tampered with.
  • Avoid taking drinks that have candy or other objects in them – these objects may be used to disguise the appearance or taste of drugs in the drink.
  • Confront rumors or evidence of drugging – perpetrators use silence and secrecy to commit assaults
  • Get help for anyone who seems like they may have been drugged – even if you don’t know them, stay with them.
  • Drink responsibly – intoxication will lessen your awareness of what is going on around you.

 Please call RCASA’s hotline at (540) 371-1666 for further assistance. Someone will be available to talk with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Therapy Thursday: Connecting sexual abuse and eating disorder

In Sexual Assault Awareness on June 23, 2011 at 12:01 am

Studies contradict one another when analyzing the correlation between surviving childhood sexual abuse and likelihood of developing an eating disorder; however, many researchers agree that there is a positive correlation.  So the question can arise of why?  Why would eating disorders, problems that are often contributed to America’s obsession with ‘perfect bodies’ and low self-esteem, be influenced by trauma in childhood? 

The answer to this can be simple and yet so complex.  First off, eating disorders are generally used as maladaptive coping skills, just like addiction or self-mutilation, that then begin to be used when dealing with other areas of stress in life.  So while a person may begin binging and purging to better handle the trauma of sexual abuse they begin to apply that coping skill to pressure they feel during exams, or feelings of being an inadequate parent. 

The complexities begin when analyzing why eating disorders feel effective to trauma survivors.  Purging in particular has shown to be a release of anger.  The adrenaline high from intense exercise might be the only respite from a person’s depression, so they begin working out for hours and hours every day.  The staple elements of sexual abuse, power and control, are also key to understanding the use of eating disorders as a coping skill.  When a person is made to feel as though they lost complete control over their body, it might seem as though they are taking it back by controlling exactly what food they ingest; and it might seem incredibly powerful to be able to survive on minimal food when it seems to be something everyone else requires.  There can also be thoughts in survivors’ minds that the assault was about sexual desire rather than solely power and control: ‘if I compulsively over eat and gain weight I might not be sexually attractive and then I won’t be hurt again.’

One of the first steps in therapy can be understanding and acknowledging that eating disorders are a maladaptive coping skills and their possible connection between  them and one’s history of sexual trauma.  And the rest, though it sounds easy but is one of the hardest parts, is finding healthier coping skills and beginning to work through the trauma.

Wednesday Outreach

In Sexual Assault Awareness on June 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm


Please see the attached flyer for details about the upcoming opportunity for public comment to the Governor’s DV Advisory Board on issues related to service gaps for underserved populations (elderly victims, victims with disabilities, and victims with mental health issues).  Comments can be made in person at Tuesday’s subcommittee meeting in Richmond or submitted in writing. 

Also, the Network is willing to sponsor the trip (paying mileage and a lunch stipend) for a limited number of advocates/victims wishing to travel to Richmond to speak.  If interested, please contact Network President Becky Sirles at becky.sirles@vadoc.virginia.gov  or by phone at (804) 674-3081 extension 1180 for more information.

Also, if you are unable to attend but would like for the Network to speak to your concerns on this issue, please feel free to forward to Becky information on cases/examples of service gaps / system failures with regard to these underserved populations.

Here is the flyer

This information is courtesy of the Virginia Network for Victims and Witnesses of Crime, Inc.

Prevention and Education at RCASA

In Sexual Assault Awareness on June 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

Prevention Education

Each year RCASA conducts presentations on bullying, harassment, date/acquaintance rape, rape drugs, and sexual harassment to thousands of students in the PD-16 school districts. Each presentation is geared toward a specific age group and is designed to lead to the elimination of sexual violence in the schools and the community.

Community Education

RCASA provides education to community organizations and businesses throughout PD-16. Presentations cover various topics of sexual assault and abuse, including date/acquaintance rape, rape drugs, sexual harassment, responding to victims of sexual assault, and the general dynamics of sexual assault.

Professional Training

RCASA provides on-going professional trainings. These trainings are open to human services providers, law enforcement, medical professionals, legal professionals, school personnel, daycare providers, counselors, advocates, concerned parents/grandparents, Human Resource managers, religious leaders, and others who provide services throughout the community.

We also provide education to community organizations and businesses on sexual harassment in the workplace, keeping children safe from child molesters, and the general dynamics of sexual assault.

RCASA can provide training and consultation on many subject including Vicarious Trauma (the impact working with trauma survivors has on staff, volunteers, and organizations.)

Community Awareness

RCASA is committed to helping the community STOP sexual abuse. We provide education and support to individuals and groups who want to build the skills and develop strategies to end sexual abuse in their communities. RCASA also attends community events, offering information and support.

To schedule a presentation or training call us at 540.371.6771

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