Posts Tagged ‘sexual violence’

Outreach Wednesday – Insightful Anti-Violence Public Awareness Campaign Wins Golden Lion Award at Cannes Film Festival

In Awareness Campaigns, Current Events, Education, Outreach on July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

A campaign designed by Y&R (a Mexican-based advertising agency) recently won the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This campaign highlights the sad fact that often physical, emotional, verbal and sexual violence is cyclical. The anti-violence industry has know for quite some time that exposure to violence in the home during childhood greatly increases the risk for future victimization and/or perpetration of violence in adulthood. This creative and visually stunning campaign brings this fact to the public’s attention. They say that knowledge is power, so let’s hope this educational campaign is a step towards breaking the cycle of violence.

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.

 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 June 17, 2012 at 4:56 am

What happens when you talk to a RCASA volunteer if you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, and have been sexually assaulted?

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will believe you.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will be respectful of your need for confidentiality.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will never make  judgmental comments/jokes.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will ask how we can be of assistance rather than giving advice.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will respect your decisions every step of the way during this difficult process.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will be a good listener.

The RCASA volunteer you are talking to will offer your unconditional support.

Support Groups Offered at RCASA

In Therapy on June 14, 2012 at 11:22 am


RCASA offers a variety of support groups for survivors of sexual violence. Click on the links below to learn more about each group.


Teen Support Group

Walk-in Informational Group

Women’s Group


If you are interested in any of these groups or are in need of any of our services please call our office Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 5 PM at 540-371-6771 or our hotline (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year) at 540-371-1666.


Therapy Thursday – On LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Assault

In Therapy on June 14, 2012 at 5:00 am

How Much Do You Know About LBGT Sexual Assault Victims?

  • Sexual minorities experience the same forms of sexual violence as the larger community.  Additionally, sexual minorities experience the same emotional responses as the larger community, such as anger, anxiety, depression, dissociation, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and shame.
  • Six percent of all anti-LGBT hate crimes are incidents of sexual assault or forcible rape.
  • More than half of gay men and lesbians report at least one incident of sexual coercion by a same-sex partner.
  • Anti-LGBT crimes have increased over the last decade, with particular increases in both sexual assault and murder
  • LGB adults are more likely to experience interpersonal violence than heterosexual counterparts.

How Can you Be A Helpful Ally, Friend, or

Partner of LBGT Sexual Assault Victims?

  • Believe your friend or partner who has been raped.
  • Respect the need for confidentiality.
  • Avoid judgmental comments.
  • Control your own feelings of anger and/or frustration.
  • Ask how you can be helpful rather than giving unsolicited advice.
  • Respect their decisions even when yours might be different.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Offer unconditional love and support.

 All information was taken from:

 Cramer, R. (2012).  Mental health in violent crime victims: Does sexual orientation matter?  Law and Human Behavior, Vol 36(2), pp. 87-95.





Wednesday Outreach – Come to RCASA’s Open House on June 27th!

In Events, Outreach on June 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

Please join our team on June 27th from 4 PM to 7 PM for an afternoon of food, fun and prizes as we show off our agency’s new home. We are so delighted by all of the new space that we have to serve our clients and we hope that you will come out to see our new place and to learn about all of the important services that we continue to offer. All community members, including partnering agencies should feel welcome to join us. No RSVP is necessary. We hope to see you there!

Prevention Tuesday – Looking for a LGBTQ Friendly Anti-Violence Curriculum?

In Education, Prevention on June 12, 2012 at 5:00 am

This week I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase a curriculum that the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault sometimes utilizes in our youth anti-violence education. We have a variety of different programs that we utilize when developing programs and lesson plans, however, not all of them address LGBTQ specific bullying. Unfortunately this is a subset of sexual violence that is often neglected by anti-violence education.

Second Step‘s middle school curriculum is a lot like other programs. It deals with issues like peer pressure, bullying (both face-to-face and cyber) and substance abuse. It also works to help students develop healthy anger management and coping skills. However, this curriculum is unique in that it has a specific concentration on peer-to-peer bullying that relates to LGBTQ students or that uses anti-LGBTQ sentiment as foundation. To learn more about curriculum you can view this video. You can also visit this website to learn about other LGBTQ youth curricula.

If you are interested in learning more about RCASA’s Second Step curriculum or about our agency’s prevention work in general please call Kristin Harding at 540-371-6771 or e-mail prevention@rcasa.org.

Outreach Wednesday- In the News: Why VAWA Must Include LGBT Survivors

In Current Events, Outreach on June 6, 2012 at 5:00 am

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center works every day with some of the most vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including many immigrants — survivors who will be put at risk by the changes made by the House of Representatives to the Senate bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These changes not only omit landmark Senate provisions barring discrimination against and increasing protections for LGBT survivors, but they make it less likely that our clients will report domestic violence.

It is bad enough that the House legislation omits all the LGBT protections that were passed in the bipartisan Senate bill (S. 1925) and ignores the reality that currently only one in five LGBT survivors receives victim assistance. But the House bill goes further: It actually contains dangerous provisions that roll back years of progress aimed at protecting the safety of victims who are immigrants, Native American, and members of other marginalized communities.

Incredibly, the House bill rolls away many of the protections under current law that allow our immigrant clients to speak out, seek help, and assist law enforcement in stopping abusers from harming other victims. By decreasing the ability of immigrant survivors to come forward, the House bill would ultimately cost lives.

At the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center we have assisted thousands of LGBT survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and know too well that the barriers to services that currently exist often result in increased violence, costly hospital services, and, for too many, death. And the barriers to service that discourage immigrant LGBT survivors are often the most significant.

Although we work with many victims at the Center, the stories of those we serve are unforgettable:

  • The transgender woman from Mexico who was targeted for sexual assault, dragged from a car (attached by a seatbelt) for a quarter mile, and then left for dead. The perpetrators were never caught.
  • The transgender woman from Central America who was repeatedly stabbed by her ex-boyfriend. The perpetrator was never found.
  • The gay man whose batterer threatened to have him killed in his home country while threatening to have him deported because of his immigration status.
  • The lesbian immigrant who called the police on four separate occasions to report four separate incidents. When the police finally took a report against her abuser, it was for vandalism. In fact, the victim had been strangled.

These are but a few of the countless victims who likely would not have sought help had the House version been the law.

One of the most transformative aspects of VAWA, a truly historic legacy, is that it gave a voice to literally millions of woman who had suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands; this was later expanded to their boyfriends and is now understood much more broadly.

And as a feminist, I commend all the work that has been done to help victims, but it is not enough. For VAWA truly to be the law it is meant to be — a law that gives voice to all survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence — it must recognize the survivors who often fall in the fringes: communities of color, immigrants, Native victims, and, LGBT survivors, and the survivors who exist across all of these categories.

Recognizing the diverse needs of communities is not singling out a community for special protection; it is merely acknowledging that access to services is not equal and that specific pathways are often necessary.

What may be the greatest benefit of this laborious process of VAWA reauthorization is that the conversation has raised awareness about the reality of domestic and sexual violence in the LGBT community so that the gay man in Arkansas and the lesbian in South Carolina and the trans woman in Los Angeles know that they are not alone, and also know that advocates of all sexual orientations and gender identities are doing their best to ensure that they will have access to services.

We call upon advocates from across the country to decry the House’s actions and to encourage their legislators to do the right thing as the House and Senate meet in conference to reconcile the two bills. This country can no longer afford to play politics with lives.

The preceding article is taken from here.

The Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault serves clients of all genders and sexual orientations. If you or someone you know is in need of our services or if you just have questions please call our hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 540-371-6771 or visit our website at www.rcasa.org.

Prevention Tuesday – Preventing Sexual Assault in LGBTQ Relationships: First Steps

In Education, Prevention on June 5, 2012 at 5:00 am

Everyone knows that abuse happens in heterosexual relationships.  Teen violence in dating relationships has been a focus of many groups like RCASA in recent years.  However, few people are aware that LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) people in relationships experience sexual and physical abuse at high rates as well.  According to the Sexual Assault Crisis Consultant Team, 52% of people same-sex couples experienced at least one incident of sexual coercion by their partners.  In addition, about 30% of self-identified lesbians reported being sexually assaulted or raped by a female, while 15% of men in same-sex relationships reported experiencing sexual assault or rape by a male.  Clearly, sexual assault is not a heterosexual phenomenon.

So why aren’t we doing more to tackle this issue?  One of the biggest obstacles is the fact that LGBTQ people who have been sexually assaulted simply don’t feel safe reporting the abuse.  Many members of the LGBTQ community fear that police or service providers may display prejudice against them.  Others may fear being outted and possibly abandoned by friends and family.  Still others may not report abuse because they are afraid of betraying the LGBTQ community.  There is already such a negative stigma attached to the LGBTQ community that many members of the community are reluctant to do anything that might further damage the image of the group as a whole.

So what can we do to prevent sexual abuse of LGBTQ people in our community? First of all, we can acknowledge that they exist.  Most resources and programs assume that all victims of sexual assault are heterosexual.  Our language as service providers and friends/family should be more inclusive.  Don’t simply assume that a young girl has a boyfriend or that a young boy has a girlfriend.  Inclusive language like “significant other” or “partner” can go a long way in making a member of the LGBTQ community feel safe.  Second, we need to acknowledge that sexual assault happens in the LGBTQ community.  Ignoring the problem only perpetuates it.  By acknowledging that sexual assault happens in the LGBTQ community, we take the power out of the silence forced upon that community.

These may only seem like small steps, but small steps are necessary for any sort of change to happen.  No matter what your religious or personal beliefs are on the issue, I think we can all agree that no one should have to endure sexual assault.

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Volunteer on May 27, 2012 at 6:01 am

Sexual violence is any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone’s will. It encompasses a range of offenses, including a completed non-consensual sex act (rape), an attempted non-consensual sex act, abusive sexual contact (unwanted touching), and non-contact sexual abuse (threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, verbal sexual harassment). All of these involve victims who do not consent, or who are unable to consent or refuse to allow the act.

If you are, or know someone who needs help, please call

RCASA’s FREE CONFIDENTIAL 24 hour, 7 day a week hotline. 

We are here for you, no matter your sex, age, sexual orientation, or gender identification.

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