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Archive for the ‘Sexual Assault Awareness’ Category

RCASA Friday Facts: College Students and Sexual Violence

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 17, 2012 at 5:06 am
Rape on college campuses is a much more serious problem than many people realize. Here’s what you should know about sexual assault and college campuses.

Sexual assault on college campuses is an epidemic. Sexual violence is a painful and psychologically devastating experience for victims, and many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, up to 40% of rape victims develop sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re a student on a college campus, you need to know the facts about sexual violence on campus.

Statistics. According to the American Association of University Women:

  • 20 to 25 percent of college women are raped during their college career.
  • 65 percent of these attacks go unreported
  • Alcohol is involved in 75 percent of attacks.

{Source: The American Association of University Women, 2004)

Facts. Here are some things you need to know about rape:

  1. No one deserves to be raped, ever. Many women blame themselves because they were drinking, wearing revealing clothes, or some other reason. While rape victims sometimes make lapses in judgment–as does everybody– no lapse in judgement is ever deserving of rape. No rape victim is ever “asking for it.” If you are the victim of sexual violence, please understand that what happened was wrong and that it was not your fault.
  2. Most rapists are not strangers. Yes, you should be careful when you’re walking alone at night. However, stranger rape is much less common than rape at the hands of someone the victim knows. This type of rape is known as date rape or acquaintance rape. What’s more, the majority of rapes are planned.
  3. Forced intercourse is not the only kind of rape. While the definition of what constitute rape varies, you should know that all unwanted sexual contact is sexual violence, and it’s wrong.
  4. Men are raped too. By far, most victims of sexual assault are women, but this isn’t always the case.

What should you do if you get raped?

  1. Get yourself to a safe place. Don’t be shy about calling 911, especially if you are injured or if you fear another attack. If at all possible, find a supportive person who can help you, like a close friend or a residence assistant.
  2. Resist the urge to take a bath or a shower. Cleaning yourself is a natural impulse, but don’t. Your body is covered with physical evidence that can help catch the rapist. Preserve all evidence, such as your clothing.
  3. Get medical attention immediately! Even if you do not plan to report the rape, it is crucial that you seek help at the campus health center or elsewhere. Prompt medical assistance reduces you chance of developing some STDs, and many women choose to take the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. Rape victims also sustain other physical injuries, and you may be more hurt than you realize. Yes, an intimate medical exam is the last thing you want after such a horrible experience, but it’s something you need to do for the sake of your health.
  4. Get psychological counseling as soon as possible. Rape is a traumatic experience, and most women need help coping. Be kind to yourself and get the help you need! Most campus counselors are well trained to help rape victims. A great resource is the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
  5. Report the assault to the campus and/or city police. Many women choose not to do this, and their decisions should be respected. But if you are raped, please consider reporting it. Doing so may prevent the rapist from hurting someone else, and if enough women report rapes, rape statistics may go down because the consequences will go up. And even if the rapist never strikes again, that bastard deserves to be punished. If there’s a chance the rapist could attack you again, definitely report him.

Reducing the risk of rape. Rape is never the victim’s fault. However, there are some important safety precautions you can take to reduce the risk.

Read more at Suite101: College Students & Sexual Violence: What You Should Know about Date Rape and Safety on College Campuses | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/college-students-sexual-violence-a26356#ixzz215aRAviK

RCASA Friday Facts: Campus Sexual Assault Facts and Figures

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 10, 2012 at 5:00 am

Facts and Figures

  • 95% of attacks are unreported, making sexual assault the “silent epidemic.” Sexual assault remains the most drastically underreported crime (*see the paragraph below the statistics for more on why). (1)
  • 3% of college women nationally have experienced rape or attempted rape during the academic year. This means, for example, that a campus with 6,000 coeds will have an average of one rape per day during the school year. (2)
  • 13% of women are stalked during the academic year, and each stalking episode lasts an average of 60 days. (2)
  • 90% of women know the person who sexually assaulted or raped them. (2)
  • 75% of the time, the offender, the victim, or both have been drinking. (3)
  • 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about the assault. (4)
  • 5% of rape incidents are reported to the police. (2) 10 times more rapes are reported to crisis lines than are reported to the police. (5)
  • 42% of raped women expect to be raped again. (4)

* While there are many reasons why people do not report, the most often cited reason in a 2009 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity was institutional barriers on campus. Two examples of these institutional barriers are administrators who respond to students with disbelief or other inappropriate behavior and campus judiciary processes that are difficult to understand and follow. Many students who were discouraged because of these barriers transferred or withdrew from their schools, while their alleged attackers were almost uniformly unpunished.(XX)

Debunking Myths
Both college women and men harbor misconceptions about sexual assault. Getting the facts is essential to combating sexual assault on campus.

  • 71% of rapes are planned in advance. (6)
  • 80% of women who are raped try to physically resist. (6)
  • 48.8% of the women did not consider what happened to them to be rape even though researchers considered the incidents to be rape. (2)
  • 43% of college-aged men conceded to using coercive behavior to have sex (including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse) but did not admit that it was rape. (7)

The Impact on Victims
Physical and emotional

  • 40% of rape survivors develop sexually transmitted diseases as a result of sexual assault. (8)
  • 80% of rape victims suffer chronic physical or psychological problems over time. (9)
  • 13 times as many rape survivors are more likely to attempt suicide than are people who are not victims of crime. Rape survivors are six times more likely to attempt suicide than are victims of other crimes. (10)
  • 25–50% of sexual assault victims seek mental health treatment as a result of the assault. (11)

Academics and achievement
In addition to physical and emotional damage, college students who have been victims of sexual assault suffer from a host of problems that impede their academic achievement.

  • In nearly every case, victims cannot perform at the same academic levels that they did prior to the attack.
  • Sexual assault sometimes causes students to be unable to carry a normal class load, and they miss classes more frequently. (This is often a result of social withdrawal or a way to avoid seeing the perpetrator.)
  • Student victims regularly withdraw from courses altogether.
  • In more traumatic incidents, victims leave the school until they recover, sometimes transferring to another college.

(12) – four bullets above


(1) Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf.

(2) Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf.

(3) Abbey, A., L. Thomson Ross, D. McDuggie, & P. McAuslan. (1996). Alcohol and dating risk factors for sexual assault among college women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 147-169.

(4) Warshaw, Robin. (1994). I never called it rape. New York: Harper Perennial.

(5) U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. National crime victimization survey.
Available at http://www.fact-index.com/n/na/national_crime_victimization_survey.html.

(6) DC Rape Crisis Center. Turning anger into change. Available at www.dcrcc.org.

(7) American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. (1994). Sexual assault and the adolescent. Pediatrics, 94(5), 761-765.

(8) Holmes, Melissa, Heidi A. Resnick, Dean G. Kirkpatrick, & Connie L. Best. (1996). Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 175(2), 320-325.

(9) American Medical Association. (1995). Strategies for the treatment and prevention of sexual assault.
Available at www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/386/sexualassault.pdf.

(10) National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. (1992). Rape in America: A report to the nation. Charleston, SC: University of South Carolina.

(11) Miller, Ted, Mark A. Cohen, & Brian Wierama. Victim costs and consequences: A new look. 1996. Washington, DC: U.S. Department. of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/155282.htm.

(12) Kirkland, Connie J. (1994). Academic impact of sexual assault. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University. Available at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/sexual/.

(XX) Center for Public Integrity, “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice,” (2009). Available at http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/campus_assault/

RCASA’s Friday Facts: College Campus Sexual Assault

In Education, Friday Facts, Outreach, Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 3, 2012 at 5:00 am

It is estimated that 20-25% of college women will be victims of an attempted or completed rape during their college careers. In 90% of college cases, the offender is known to the victim, usually a classmate, friend, or acquaintance. According to a report funded by the Department of Justice, roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates.

Type of Victimization Percentage of Sample Rate per 1,000 students
Completed Rape 1.7% 16.6
Attempted Rape 1.1% 11.0
Threat of Rape 0.3% 3.0
Completed Sexual Coercion 1.7% 16.6
Attempted Sexual Coercion 1.3% 13.5
Completed Sexual Contact 3.7% 31
Attempted Sexual Contact 5.0% 49.9

Additionally,

  • Of the women who had experienced events that fit the legal definition of rape, 46.5% described their victimization as rape.
  • For both completed and attempted rapes, about 9 in 10 offenders were known to the victim, usually a classmate, friend or acquaintance.
  • Fewer than 5% of completed and attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement officials, though the victim did tell another person about the incident in about two-thirds of cases.

As the data suggest, sexual assault and other forms of coercive sexual behavior are part of college life for a substantial number of young women.  The presence of sexual violence is a source of concern for the entire community, and has a grave impact on the affected person’s psychosocial development, intellectual maturation, and identity formation.

RCASA Friday Facts: Sexual Assault and Men, Myth vs. Reality

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on July 6, 2012 at 5:00 am

What Is “Sexual Assault?”

In legal terms, sexual assault is any sexual contact that is against a person’s will or without consent. This includes situations where force, violence, or weapons are used as well as situations where the victim is too intoxicated or scared to give consent. Sexual assault happens to men as well as women. In fact, by most estimations, 5% to 10% of sexual assaults committed in the United States involve male victims. Some experts say that as many as 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. These numbers may sound startling because the problem of sexual assault against men isn’t talked about very much.

Sexual assault against men happens in lots of different ways. Some men are assaulted by a stranger, or a group of strangers, while others may be assaulted by someone they know. Men are sometimes sexually assaulted by women but most often they are sexually assaulted by other men. Some attackers use weapons, physical force, or the threat of force to gain the upper hand. Others may use blackmail or a position of authority to threaten someone into submission. Still others use alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, to prevent victims from fighting back. No matter how it occurs, it is a violation of a man’s body and his free will and it can have lasting emotional consequences.

Myth Vs. Reality

Let’s take a look at some mistaken beliefs about male sexual assault and uncover the realities behind the myths…

Myth: Men can’t be sexually assaulted. Reality: Men are sexually assaulted. Any man can be sexually assaulted regardless of size, strength, appearance or sexual orientation.

Myth: Only gay men are sexually assaulted. Reality: Heterosexual, gay and bisexual men are equally likely to be sexually assaulted. Being sexually assaulted has nothing to do with your current or future sexual orientation. Your sexuality has no more to do with being raped than being robbed.

Myth: Only gay men sexually assault other men. Reality: Most men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as heterosexual. This fact helps to highlight another reality — that sexual assault is about violence, anger, and control over another person, not lust or sexual attraction.

Myth: Men cannot be sexually assaulted by women. Reality: Although the majority of perpetrators are male, men can also be sexually assaulted by women.

Myth: Erection or ejaculation during a sexual assault means you “really wanted it” or consented to it. Reality: Erection and ejaculation are physiological responses that may result from mere physical contact or even extreme stress. These responses do not imply that you wanted or enjoyed the assault and do not indicate anything about your sexual orientation. Some rapists are aware how erection and ejaculation can confuse a victim of sexual assault — this motivates them to manipulate their victims to the point of erection or ejaculation to increase their feelings of control and to discourage reporting of the crime.

Some Facts About Male Survivors of Sexual Assault

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Rape can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Any male can be the victim of sexual assault, regardless of age, class, race, disability or sexual orientation.

Although few men expect to be raped, it happens more than most people realize.  Approximately one in twelve adults seen by Sexual Assault Services are men.

Thousands of men are raped each year, yet only a fraction of these assaults are reported.  Male rape is one of the most under reported of crimes; male rape survivors are among the most under-served crime victims.

In our society, enormous stigma is associated with being the victim of sexual assault.

Survivors of sexual assault frequently encounter unsupportive or even hostile reactions from the criminal justice system, social service providers, family friends and lovers.

As a result, male survivors of sexual assault too often suffer the enormous trauma that rape can create in isolation and silence, trying to forget that the assault ever happened. Below are several common myths associated with male sexual assault followed by a brief outline of the facts.

Myth: A strong man can´t be raped.  He must have consented.  
Fact: In fact, being strong is no defence against rape and just because a man did not fight off his attacker does not mean he consented.  Surprise, a weapon, threats, being outnumbered or frozen by fear, makes fighting back impossible for most victims.  Any man can be raped when his attacker, for whatever reason, has more power.

Myth: Men are the offenders of sexual assault not the victims.
Fact: Although most offenders of sexual violence are men, men can also be victims.

Myth: Only gay men are raped.
Fact: Both heterosexual and homosexual men are raped and statistics show that victims are more likely to be straight than gay.  Sexual preference is not generally relevant, except perhaps where the victim is the target of an attack motivated by homophobia.

Myth: Only gay men rape other men.
Fact: Both heterosexual and homosexual men rape other men. Those who commit sexual assault are motivated by the desire for power over others and so sexual preference is not particularly relevant to them.

Myth: Men do not usually know their assailant.
Fact: Although men are sometimes sexually assaulted by strangers, it is more common for them to know their attacker.  Sexual Assault Services see men who have been raped by strangers, acquaintances, family members, teachers, colleagues, youth leaders, and others.


Myth:
 If it´s someone you know, it´s not rape.
Fact: Your rights over your body are the same whoever is involved.  If the attacker is someone you know and trust, the abuse is in many ways worse.

Myth: If a victim is sexually aroused during a sexual assault, it means he wants to be raped.
Fact: Sometimes males who are being raped experience or are forced into a state of sexual arousal.  This does not mean that the individual wants to be raped.  This response, which may be involuntary, is one way the body chooses to protect itself from the physical and emotional trauma of the attack.

Myth: Men can’t be raped.
Fact: Any person can be the victim of rape.  Although outdated laws in NY State define rape of males as “sodomy”, the reality of the crime and the intensity of its impact make sexual assault one of the most devastating acts of violence a male can experience.

Myth: Rape of men only happens in prison.
Fact: Those who claim that rape of males happens only in prisons contribute to the continuing denial of the problem of rape in the larger community.  Sexual assault can occur anytime, anyplace.

Myth: All rape victims are young and weak.
Fact: Any male, no matter how old or strong, can be the victim of sexual assault.

Myth: The best way to cope with rape is to forget about it.
Fact: Denying the impact of rape can have serious emotional consequences.  Virtually any reaction is normal.  These can include anger, fear, guilt, self-blame, denial, depression, sexual dysfunction, sleeplessness, feelings of helplessness, feelings of being out of control and difficulty with concentration.  The intensity of these feelings can contribute to the individual’s decision not to tell anyone about the assault.

Men who have been raped are often very reluctant to seek help.  They are accustomed to bottling things up rather than talking about them.  Their reluctance to speak out may be increased by the fact that they are misled by some of the myths and misconceptions about men and rape, which are common in the community.  Although it can be hard at first to talk about the effects of being assaulted, most people find that it is very helpful to do so.

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 1, 2012 at 5:50 am

This month I’ve learned a great deal about LGBTQ issues and how they effect individuals from getting the help they need.   I was surfin’ the internetz and came across a POP QUIZ!

I love a pop quiz, even as a kid I would get kinda jittery and excited to show my skills at a pop quiz!  Just like when I procrastinate to the last minute I see great results, I always did better on pop quizzes than when I KNEW a test was coming and I had tons of time to prepare.  Character flaw, I know!

So I sat down, printed the quiz out and took it…BTW I passed with flying colors!  Here is your chance to shine too, or figure out where you could brush up on the subject.

If you are going to be a volunteer like I am at RCASA, or another agency it is really helpful to know who you are talking to, how they identify, and how you can respectfully discuss the situation/s they face.

The first way is just having compassion.  Everyone is different and deserving of love, respect, and kindness.

Another way is by educating yourself…this is where the pop quiz comes in.  This quiz is a self test to see how much you know about gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression.

This is coming directly from the Advocates for Youth website. Which worked with the Coalition for Education on sexual orientation to make this quiz.

Word Bank

Sex (biological sex) Gender identity
Heterosexuality Queer
Gender Isolation
Bisexuality Lesbian
Sexual orientation Primary sex characteristics
Transgender Same-gender loving
Homosexuality Questioning
Coming out Two-Spirit
Female-to-male Crossdressers
Male-to-female Sexual reassignment surgery
Gender expression Secondary sex characteristics
Sexual minority Men who have sex with men
Intersex

 

Fill in the Blank

  1. _______________________ Native American term for a person born with one biological sex and fulfilling at least some of the gender roles assigned to both sexes; considered part male and part female or wholly male and wholly female; often revered as a natural peace maker, healer, and shaman
  2. ______________________ Having the genitalia, chromosomes, and hormones of females or males
  3. ______________________ An umbrella term for all individuals who are outside the boundaries of biological sex and culturally determined gender expression
  4. ______________________ A woman who feels romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to other women
  5. ______________________ Feeling romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to both males and females; a normal sexual orientation of no known cause
  6. ______________________ Physical characteristics that appear at puberty, including pubic hair as well as facial and chest hair (males) and breasts (females)
  7. ______________________ Process of becoming aware of one’s sexual orientation, accepting it, and sharing it with at least a few others
  8. ______________________ A term from the African American/black GLBTQ community and used by people of color who may see ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ as terms of the white GLBTQ community
  9. ______________________ Social and cultural expression of biological sex
  10. ______________________ Feeling romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to those of the opposite sex; a normal sexual orientation of no known cause
  11. ______________________ Characteristics present at birth and used to identify the sex of the infant — specifically, the penis and scrotum of males; the vulva, vagina, clitoris, and labia of females
  12. ______________________ The ways in which an individual communicates gender to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice, and/or emphasis or de-emphasis of bodily characteristics
  13. ______________________ A once derogatory term that has been reclaimed by some members of the GLBTQ community; an umbrella term for people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity does not conform to mainstream cultural norms or models
  14. ______________________ A term to describe males who engage in sexual behaviors with other men; includes men who self-identify as heterosexual as well as gay and bisexual men
  15. ______________________ Being born with some degree of ambiguity in regard to genitalia and/or reproductive system
  16. ______________________ A person born biologically female who identifies as a male and takes on the sex, gender, and identity of a male through surgery, medications, mannerisms, dress, and/or behavior
  17. ______________________ Romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to others, categorized by the sex of the people to whom one is attracted
  18. ______________________ Preferred term for people who usually identify with their own sex and gender but who sometimes wear the clothing, jewelry, etc., of the other gender to fulfill emotional needs
  19. ______________________ Being unsure of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity or feeling uncomfortable with the available categories (i.e., gay, straight, male, female, etc.)
  20. ______________________ The state of feeling alone and apart from others and a cause of deep psychological distress in humans as in other social animals
  21. ______________________ Surgical procedures to modify one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
  22. ______________________ A person born male who self-identifies as female and takes on the sex, gender, and identity of a female through medications, surgery, mannerisms, dress, and/or behaviors
  23. ______________________ Feeling romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to members of the same sex; a normal sexual orientation of now known cause
  24. ______________________ One’s innermost sense of self as male or female, as lying somewhere between these two genders, or as outside gender lines altogether
  25. ______________________ An umbrella term for anyone whose sexuality is expressed in less common ways; may include people who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, third gender, and so on

 

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Answers

1) Two-Spirit; 2) sex (biological sex); 3) transgender; 4) lesbian; 5) bisexuality; 6) secondary sex characteristics; 7) coming out; 8) same-gender loving; 9) gender; 10) heterosexuality; 11) primary sex characteristics; 12) gender expression; 13) queer; 14) men who have sex with men; 15) intersex; 16) female-to-male; 17) sexual orientation; 18) crossdressers; 19) questioning; 20) isolation; 21) sexual reassignment surgery; 22) male-to-female; 23) homosexuality; 24) gender identity; 25) sexual minority.

 

 

Good luck!

RCASA Friday Facts: Sexual Assault in the Transgender Communities

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on June 29, 2012 at 5:00 am

Sexual Assault in the Transgender Communities

[EXCERPT]
By Arlene IstarLev and S. Sundance Lev


Transgendered Victims of Sexual Assault

Transgendered people are the targets of the most vicious and blatant forms of violence. They are routinely abused by the police and medical professionals, in addition to being subjected to random street violence and domestic partner abuse. Intimate partners, often appalled to discover the gender transgression, can verbally, psychologically, physically and sexually abuse the person.

Statistical research for violence towards the transgendered population is still in its infancy. The preliminary data of transgendered and intersexed individuals gathered by the Gender, Violence and Resource Access Survey found that 50% of respondents had been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner (Courvant and Cook-Daniels, 1998). Eyler and Witten (1999) have began a longitudinal study of violence against the transgendered community, and the preliminary data clearly show physical and sexual violence perpetrated on those who express cross-gender behavior. Our trans-phobic bigotry, like racist violence, allows us to falsely identify the victims of violence as the provocateurs of violence. As Dallas Denny (1992) says, “Despite the fact that they are much more often victims of violence than they are perpetrators, transgendered persons are frequently portrayed in the media as psychotics and criminals.” Given the virulent violence against transgendered people by the police this is especially ironic.
Transgendered people are often sexually targeted specifically because of their transgendered status. The sexual perpetrator will stalk them, or attack them, infuriated by their cross-gender behavior. Wilchins (1998), in the video “Transgendered Revolution” says, “Trans people are never killed from 300 yards away with a high-powered rifle; they’re always killed up front and personal … People want to see us die … there is a level of almost unhinged deranged violence about gender hate crimes.”
Claudia is an African-American, male-to-female transsexual woman who was sexually molested before her transition by her then wife. When Maria returned home early one evening and discovered Claudia dressed in female clothes, she flew into a rage.  She began beating Claudia, cursing and calling her sexually abusive names.  Claudia was ashamed to have been caught, and passively accepted this behavior.  This infuriated Maria even more, who began sexually molesting Claudia, while degrading both her feminine appearance, and her masculine body. Maria raped Claudia and then left the marriage.

Terence is a female-to-male transgendered person of Korean descent. He has lived most of his life as a butch/tomboy identified lesbian, until he began to address his gender dysphoria. He began to transition, identifying as a “bi-gendered” person — neither male nor female, both male and female.  His lesbian partner was resistant to this transition initially, but became increasingly more supportive over time. Terence began taking testosterone injections and his body began to masculinize, however he was not interested in pursuing genital surgery. Terence was walking home from work late one evening, when he was accosted by a group of young hoodlums. Unsure at first “what” Terence was they began to tease him, first as a small guy, but then slowly they began to suspect he wasn’t really a “guy.” The taunts increased to a racist verbal assault, with increasing hostility at “the woman who was pretending to be a real guy.” Terence was beaten and repeatedly raped by these boys, both vaginally and anally. He refused to report the crime or to receive medical help, afraid that the police and medical system would just further abuse him.

It is clear from examining the above vignettes, that categorizing Claudia and Terence’s experiences as either opposite-sex, or same-sex abuse becomes confusing — and somewhat irrelevant — classifications. Both are being targeted because of their transgendered status, and defining the assaults as “heterosexual” or “homosexual” depends on

the perceptions of transgendered people within a bipolar gendered system. Terence was raped “like” a woman, precisely because he was not a woman. Claudia, also was raped as a woman, in this case because she was not a man. Witten and Eyler (1999) say, “Violence against members of the transgender community shares many similarities with violence stemming from anti-female hatred and anti-homosexual (and other hate crime) attacks. Furthermore, distinguishing the motivation behind a violent attack against a transgendered person is often impossible because of the intersection between misogyny and hatred of other person whose existence undermines perceived male sexual supremacy and the gender dichotomy which is its necessary underpinning… For example, a male-to-female transsexual may concurrently experience physical or sexual assault as a woman (targeted by her assailant because of anti-female hatred) and hate-crime victimization as a (perceived) effeminate, homosexual male, or as a “gender-deviant” person.  (p. 6)”

Our societal discomfort with transgenderism has rendered transgendered victims of sexual assault, gay-bashing, and domestic violence without necessary services. Rape Crisis Centers and domestic violence shelters are unprepared to address the issues of transgendered people. Medical personnel respond with judgment and have been known to withhold care to people they perceive to be cross-dressing. The criminal justice and the legal systems often re-traumatize victims. The complexity of issues facing the transgendered person who is sexual assaulted can only be addressed by broad changes in the delivery system and extensive education regarding the needs of this community.

This is an excerpt from an article Sexual Assault in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities that will be published in a forthcoming book McClennen, J. C., & Gunther, J.  (1999).  Same-sex partner abuse: A professional’s guide to practice intervention.  Lewiston, NY: Mellen Press  (In Press).

Bibliography

Courvant, D., & Cook-Daniels, L.,  (1998). Transgender and intersex survivors of domestic violence: Defining terms, barriers and responsibilities.  In National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Conference Manual, POB 18749 Denver, CO 80218, -0749; 303-839-1852.

Eyler, A.E., & Witten, T.M. (1999). Violence within and against the transgender community: Preliminary survey results. Technical Report: International Longitudinal Transsexual and Transgender Aging Research Project. 1-12. 12846 Maple Park Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78249, 1.210.691.3351. http://www.int-trans.org.

Denny, D. (1992, April). Violence against transgendered persons: An Unrecognized problem. The Advocate, 601.

Wilchin, R.A., (1999, January). A Hate crime by any other name. Girlfriends magazine, 6, (1), 10.

Witten, T.M. & Eyler, A.E. (1999). Anti-transgender violence: The “Invisible” Human Rights Violation. Peace Review: An International Quarterly. 1-10. (In Press).

[Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev is a family therapist who specializes in working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.  She is in Albany, NY.  AFM Spotlight – “Gay and Lesbian Parenting” (http://www.altfammag.com/ari-qlp.html) or on AOL: Parent Threads 4344:2138.onqparen.22621297.596940590]

What Do You Know About Transgender Survivors of Sexual Violence?

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Therapy on June 28, 2012 at 5:00 am

Transgender indivdiuals are people whose gender identity may not match their sex assigned at birth. The transgender community includes anyone who might identify with this defintion. Someone who is transgender may not necessarily want or seek sexual reassignment surgery, which is important to keep in mind when working with trans* survivors. Members of the transgender community face many of the same barriers as the rest of the LGBT community, as well as their own set of issues related to transphobia lack of understanding about the transgender community.

Quick Facts About Transgender Survivors of Sexual Assault:

Approximately 1% of the U.S. population is transgender.
Approximately 30% of transgender individuals have been assaulted by an intimate partner.
Approximately 48% of transgender individuals are raped or assaulted more than once in their lifetime.
82% of transgender individuals that have been assaulted do not report their assault to authorities.
42% of transgender who have experienced sexual assault(s) say that gender was a contributing factor.

Tomorrow we will also be talking about the Transgender community, so make sure to check out that post as well!
Retrieved from:

Fact Sheet:  Transgender Survivors of Sexual Violence
http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/2518872/transgender-sv-fact-sheeet1-pdf-january-14-2011-10-21-am-127k?da=y&dnad=y

Comunidad LGBTQ

In Hispanic/Latino, Sexual Assault Awareness on June 25, 2012 at 5:00 am

En este segundo y último artículo consideraremos a dos agencias:

  1. Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, RCASA o Concilio Rappahanock contra la agresión sexual, agencia sin fines de lucro, sirviendo a víctimas de violencia sexual del Distrito de Planificación No. 16 de Virginia.

 

Contamos con un equipo de navegadores de salud, prevención e intervención magnífico, con excelentes intercesoras muy capacitadas y dispuestas a ayudar a víctimas de violencia sexual respetando su dignidad y privacidad.

Nuestro personal esta capacitado a prestar apoyo a víctimas de violencia sin importar la edad, la raza, nacionalidad, género, u orientación sexual.  Respondiendo inmediatamente a las llamadas de los clientes cuando estan en crisis, acompañándolos al hospital, acompañamiento al Tribunal, prestando servicios de intercesoría legal.

Nuestro trabajo se enfoca en el Trastorno de Estrés Postraumático, las situaciones adversas vividas en la niñez, escoger el respeto por si mismo y por los demás y en las relaciones personales saludables.

Consejeras profesionales muy capacitadas que proveen terapia bajo la supervisión directa de nuestra Directora Ejecutiva, quien tiene dos Maestrías, una en Arte y otra en Terapia de Arte, Terapista Profesional Licenciada, Certificada por la Directiva en Terapia de Arte y  Certificada como terapista  de abuso de alcohol y drogas.

Unidad de servicios de apoyo a la comunidad Latina y a otra comunidades inmigrantes.

Los servicios de RCASA son bilingües: Inglés y Español.

  1. 2.     Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services, FAHASS.

415 Elm Street
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401
phone (540) 371-7532
toll-free (800) 215-8121
fax (540) 371-8446
WWW.FAHASS.ORG

Our Mission Serving the City of Fredericksburg and the Counties of Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, King George, Madison, Orange, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland. FAHASS is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to help empower persons infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, by acting as their advocate and providing emotional, educational and emergency financial assistance. It is through compassion and service that we educate and reach out to our communities.

Nuestra misión – Servir a la ciudad de Fredericksburg y los condados de Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, King George, Madison, Orange, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford y Westmoreland. FAHASS es una organización privada, no lucrativa cuya misión es ayudar y alentar a personas infectadas y afectadas por el VIH y el SIDA, actuando como su intercesor y proveyendo ayuda financiera, emocional, educativa y asistencia financiera en casos de emergencia. Es a través de compasión y servicio que educamos y concientizamos a nuestras comunidades.

FAHASS provides counseling services to HIV-positive clients. Specific counseling services that are offered are: individual, couples, and family counseling. The counselor at FAHASS specializes in HIV specific issues, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, grief and loss, relationship and family issues, as well as, LGBTQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/questioning) issues.

Counseling provides a safe, non-judgmental and confidential place to discuss your concerns with a skilled professional. 

FAHASS provee servicios de consejería a los clientes VIH-positivos. Los servicios específicos de consejería que se ofrecen son: individuales, parejas, y terapia de familia. El terapista de FAHASS se especializa en temas específicos del VIH, depresión, ansiedad, autoestima, pena y pérdida, relaciones familiares, así como de temas relacionados con la comunidad LGBTQ La terapia prove un lugar seguro, no critic y confidencial para discutir sus preocupaciones con un profesional experto.

Para más información sobre los servicios adicionales que ofrece FAHASS, vaya a:

http://www.fahass.org/client-sevices.html#casemanagement

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Sexual Assault Awareness on June 24, 2012 at 5:02 am

My summer session is FINALLY over!

This means so many things: more relaxing, more beaching, more playing, more volunteering, more home projects, and one of my favorites, MORE READING.

I’m a read-a-holic.  I consume books, newspaper articles, magazines, blogs and online resourest during every spare minute I have.

I stumbled across a blog pot on The Huffington Post that I thought I would share here.  This is not only important for LGBTQ sexual assault survivors, but youth in general struggling to find their way.

Directly Quoted from the article.

“Dear friend,

Let me start by telling you that I love you. No, I don’t know you at all. I might have passed you at the mall or caught a glimpse of you driving down the road, but chances are you live far away from me, in another state or even in another country. I love you just the same. Even though we are distant, we are not so different, you and I. This is a picture of me when I was a teen. You can tell by looking at me that I felt different, unhappy. You see, like you, I have felt intense pain. I’ve even had fleeting moments when I wanted to commit suicide myself. I suspect that’s something that everyone thinks about at one time or another, if they’re honest with themselves. I know that sometimes, pain can become so heavy to carry around that you might just think killing yourself is the only respite from how bad you feel. But don’t do it. This is why.

I think what’s happening to you is this. You are changing, both in body and mind. You are much like all other living beings. The caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. A crab searches for a new shell when it outgrows the old one. The old you, the one you’re used to being, is dying. That’s the one your loved ones know, the little boy/girl who sat on their laps and listened to their stories, the one they tucked in at night and took care of when there was illness. They still see you as that person. Now, you’re changing, right in front of them. You don’t sound the same or act the same. Your likes and dislikes have changed. You used to give that maraschino cherry on top of your sundae to someone else. Now, you decide to eat that cherry yourself. Your family grieves for the person they once knew. All the stages of their grief — the anger, the denial, the guilt — are unfolding right before your eyes.

You are changing. Perhaps there is something about yourself that you are ashamed of in some way. Maybe you’re gay, lesbian, or feel like you’ve been born in the wrong body. Or you might just feel like you are weird. Sometimes, especially in our teens, we feel disconnected, like we’re watching things go on around us but we’re not really a part of anything. I know because I’ve been lost before, many times. All those feelings, in part, come from shame. You were not born with shame, though, so you don’t have to own it. It took years for you to learn that shame is a part of you, but it takes only a declaration from you to release it. You are what you are. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Doing so only minimizes who you are now and who you will become someday.

If all this isn’t enough, you also have to deal with bullies at school and a bunch of haters who come in all ages, races, occupations, and religions. Maybe you even find them in your house of worship. Some of these people think they have God on their side, as if He chooses one of His children over another. Yeah, it’s crazy. If you think about it long enough, though, you can see how people come to believe what they believe, but it doesn’t make them right any more than it makes you wrong. Don’t take these people seriously. It will only bring you down.

Get used to the new person who is growing inside you. Look for support near and far. The Internet is full of people telling their stories on blogs and discussion threads. You are not alone. You will be amazed by how many people are like you. It’s a great feeling when you make a connection to a total stranger. It’s even greater when you realize what a help you have been to a stranger. Maybe together you can navigate this crazy world.

Yes, I love you. I want to give you a big hug and tell you that it gets better, because it actually does. Once you accept the person you are and forgive the ones who have wronged you, you will start to grow. Hang on. There are people you may not even know yet who are waiting for you with open arms, and they will love you unconditionally. Trust me. Your life will get better, and you will learn how to love again. Promise.”

This was written by Gary Nelson, you can find him, here and here

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