REPOSTING: TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse

REPOSTING, from 2014:
Because of the uproar over the continually surfacing reports of sexual assault perpetrated by [SO MANY MORE THAN] Bill Cosby on now-adult (or then-adult) women, these topics are now front-and-center in the media and, I hope, in private as well. Why do people refrain from reporting right after having been assaulted? Many reasons.

Let’s NOT give them reasons to keep silent any more!

Here are TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse. Learn, use them, SHARE!

ONE
Believe what they tell you until you’re sure one way or the other. This is the one situation in which the accused should be considered guilty until proven innocent, especially when children are the victims. It is hard enough to come forward with a report of an assault, especially after a long time has passed. The likelihood that this report is false is very low.

TWO
Be outraged on their behalf. Consider that this IS true and this DID happen: aren’t you incensed? This is NOT the time to be doubting or dismissive. If, in the very rare cases that it occurs, this turns out not to be an accurate report or did not happen, you have lost nothing but some time and your trust in this person.

If, however, it is TRUE—a report of assault usually is—this crime or repeated crimes occurred. If you do not respond as an advocate, you will regret it for the rest of your life. It will do irreparable harm to the victim, to you and to your relationship for you to have doubted him/her in a time of great need. If you had been in a position to prevent or protect and you did not succeed prior to this, you are especially culpable. By not believing, you will have doubly failed him/her in a way that is usually unforgivable. If you do not actively support ending the crimes against him/her by continuing to fail to protect, you may actually be liable.

In some states, knowing of assault crimes and not preventing, reporting or otherwise behaving in ways that protect future victimization makes you a criminal: you are seen as a collaborator, an accessory, by knowing what you now know and keeping silent. This makes you potentially likely to be prosecuted yourself.

THREE
Allow your protective, compassionate aspects to prevail. You may feel very intense emotions as you listen to this report of a crime that hurt this person very badly: angry, helpless, scared, worried, anxious. However, this is NOT your time to vent. It is inappropriate to behave in such a way that the attention refocuses on YOU and your “hard time.” Be there for the victim right now, even if you were somehow involved or feel guilty. Control your emotions enough so that you can vent some other time, with someone else.

NOTE: If you know the perpetrator, especially if the perpetrator is someone you are related to by family or friendship, is a workplace or school peer, is someone you live near or have to see often, protect yourself.

DO NOT CONFRONT the perpetrator by yourself unless you are sure you are safe to do so. There are authorities, support groups, other friends or family members who can accompany you or do the confronting. Let them do it.

FOUR
Ignore any past dishonesty, prevarication, or other “reasons” to doubt the reporter or the report. The “rape shield” law is there for many reasons, and this is the major one: the VICTIM’s past behaviors, character or misdeeds DO NOT MATTER here.

The only person responsible for an assault is the perpetrator. Period. No one “made” him/her do it. It doesn’t matter what the perpetrator claims were “causes,” particularly if the perpetrator tries to turn it back on the victim. “She asked for it,” “He liked it,” “We’ve been close like that plenty of times before” are all excuses and do not absolve the perpetrator from criminal charges if an assault occurred. “No” means “No.”

FIVE
Treat sexual assault, abuse of children, rape, child molestation as the CRIMES that they are. Assault is not an “accident,” a “misunderstanding,” a “joke,” a “one-time thing,” “just the way things are.” We each have the right NOT to be violated by another person. Period.

Also, DO NOT AGREE to keep this a “secret,” even if the victim begs you not to tell. Maintaining secrecy is NOT doing any favors for this victim. Really.

If the victim is a legal adult, you can discuss how, when, to whom this report should be made, and ways you can support the further reporting. However, if s/he won’t agree to tell anyone else, you should not promise to maintain this secret. The perpetrator WILL NOT STOP until s/he is forced to stop. Usually, stopping happens only when the criminal is arrested and incarcerated.

Remind him/her: potential future victims could be protected—saved—by this victim’s report because every report helps lead to subsequent arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of the perpetrator.

Reporting is empowering and liberating. Keeping the crime a secret is neither of those.

Some people who are members of religious, cultural or family groups are victimized repeatedly but group sanctions prevent reporting. YOU CAN HELP by following these guidelines and being sensitive to the extra barriers for victims in these groups.

Native American rape stats

image from a Board on Pinterest called “Anti-Rape and Feminism” http://www.pinterest.com/allysuperbee/anti-rape-and-feminism/

For more about reporting requirements when USA adult women are the victims: http://goo.gl/eT2lA2
The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women
American Prosecutors Research Institute
1-703-549-9222

For more information about male victims of violence in the USA: http://www.ncadv.org/files/MaleVictims.pdf
from The Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(NCADV)

NOTE: If you are listening to a report from a minor, a child, and you are an adult, in many states ALL adults are “mandatory reporters.” This means you MUST take notes and call or send in your notes to authorities when you hear of child victimization, even if you’re uncertain as to the veracity of the claim. You are a mandatory reporter and MUST report if you work or volunteer in certain occupations in most states. Find your county, province, parish or state’s reporting phone number or email and USE IT.

Ethically, legally, morally, you SHOULD report in order to stop crimes by this perpetrator from recurring and to protect the victim from future assaults. You must try to make sure the child is safe going forward. HOWEVER, if you are NOT a mandatory reporter, not in social services, not a family member, get some advice and support.

SIX
Keep any shame, guilt, humiliation or other baggage of yours or from his/her past OUT of this conversation. Whatever they said/did not say, wore, did/did not do, wherever they were located, however he/she conducted his/her life, THIS IS NOT THE VICTIM’s FAULT.

Rapists rape. Child molesters molest. Assaulters assault. Criminals commit crimes. Period.

Also, use the correct language: language is powerful. Calling someone a “pedophile” doesn’t even sound as bad as “child molester,” so use “child molester” or “perpetrator of sexual assault on a minor child.” Both are accurate and give appropriate weight to the crimes. “Sexual harassment” is NOT the same as “rape,” but they are both crimes. Learn what each of those circumstances includes.

“Date rape,” “acquaintance rape” or “dating violence” labels reduce the significance of the assault by positioning familiarity as the main label. Don’t downgrade the importance and don’t minimize the impact in these ways, because studies have shown that victims who knew their perpetrators suffered longer and more intensely.

Why? Because victims who knew their assaulters were not just physically assaulted, they were often emotionally terrorized prior to and after the assault, devastated by the breach of trust, intimidated and threatened by the perpetrator to prevent reporting, and forced to continue to be in the presence of the perpetrator after the assault occurred or while assaults continued.


SAAM-Pic-_1

image from http://www.reachofmaconcounty.org

SEVEN
Recognize and honor the trust this person is putting in you by revealing this information. THANK THEM for telling you. Become his/her advocate. Guide him/her to understand that secrecy only protects the perpetrator. Strongly, kindly encourage him/her to tell more people, especially police or other legal officials, even if the statute of limitations prevents arrest or prosecution.

NOTE: Almost ALL perpetrators have more than one victim, over many years. Every accusation publicly recorded helps police follow the perpetrator’s trail to a newer victim so that arrest and prosecution CAN occur.

EIGHT
Acknowledge the courage it took for them to come forward, regardless of how long it took them to do so. It doesn’t matter if the assault occurred twenty minutes or twenty years ago: right now, the violation and injury are “current” for the victim. Consider that while they are telling you about their pain, fear, sorrow, confusion, hurt, anger.

NINE
DO NOT ASK them what they were doing, “how it happened,” or any other victim-blaming questions. There will be plenty of time to get the “whole story.” While they talk, you LISTEN. When they are finished talking, help him/her decide what to do next. Speak soothingly. Hold them while they cry. Offer tissues. You are not the prosecutor. It is NOT your role to cross-examine or overly question them at this time. Be kind. Remember your relationship.

Causes of Rape

image from https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/rapists-cause-rape

TEN
Encourage them to go/go with them to a hospital if the assault happened within the last 24-48 hours. This is the critical time to collect evidence, get examined, be treated, etc. If the victim has not yet bathed or showered, convince him/her not to do that until after the forensic and medical exams. Take charge. Drive/accompany him/her.

#metoo


RESOURCES
There are many resources available to educate yourself and others with more than these ten recommendations. Here is a great one, The Pennsylvania Coaltion Against Rape (PCAR): http://www.pcar.org/blog/common-victim-behaviors-survivors-sexual-abuse

Here are some more:

USA “hotline” reporting phone numbers:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE

National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD

For more information and to report assault of USA women (applies to men as well): Rape and Sexual Assault Reporting Laws, from The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women (NCPVAW) http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_1_no_3_2006.pdf

and, [during the OBAMA administration, there was a report generated by the] USA White House in January, 2014, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, for assaults against women and girls (applies to males as well): http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf

For more information and to understand the laws about reporting crimes against USA children/youth:
Child Help USA (for victims, offenders and parents) 800-4-A-CHILD or (800-422-4453)

Help for USA youth victims:

National Youth Crisis Home (a referral hotline for youth in crisis)

1-800-HIT- HOME (800-448-4663)

I hope this post helps you and future victims experience better receptivity, support and aid. SHARE.

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#metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

REPOSTING, from about one year ago, adding the new hashtag: #metoo

It is with great sadness and anger that I have heard about (and read a few of) the disgusting responses on social media to the bringing forward of reports of the sexual predation prevalent in Hollywood, politics, academia: EVERYWHERE. These remarks have been cruelly and ignorantly denigrating and re-traumatizing sexual assault survivors.

BELIEVE US.

maxresdefault
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDLVDzaw2vc

I noticed that whatever details a survivor provided, some creeps decide to question, argue, judge or condemn, doubting and despising her for reporting her experiences.

I call BULLSHIT.

bullshit-pile
from http://Canstockphoto.com

Is anyone unclear on this concept? Really?

sa-definition
from Human Response Network

Give them nothing to respond to except a number, I say. Then, where is the argument?

#justyournumber (mine is a countable 46, but decidedly higher) allows survivors to report our sexual assaults, molestations, public exposures, sexual coercions, rapes, and any other kinds of private or public sexual threats, to be counted. No arguing.

Then, I thought, what about locations or one or two salient facts? Let’s provide those lucky enough to have no or low numbers or anyone else who is interested with some context. We need more people to begin to grasp the breadth of the problem.

By the way, when you read my or anyone’s list, imagine trying to “report” these incidents: to whom? with what results?

#justyournumbers is now joined by #wherewhatwhowhen

46
—30+ assaults by “family friends,” teachers and family members, starting at age 5, including a step-uncle who was a teacher. This man assaulted me (at age 10) in his classroom after school while my grandmother and his father (her second husband) were talking in the hallway outside the classroom. Our 6th-grade teacher, Ken Weber (long dead), at Central School in Olivette, Missouri, molested almost every girl in my class whose breasts had begun to develop by “dropping” paper clips, chalk or pencils down the fronts of our blouses and retrieving them with his own hand. As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, all the female students were required to strip down to our underwear and pose for “posture pictures” during our Physical Education “exam.” I later found out that these questionably obtained “soft porn” shots were circulated, sold and posted in multiple locations for many decades;

—3 assaults on a bus (2 public exposures and 1 molestation), all while in my pre-teen/teen years. One very large young adult who was one of my “campers” had Down’s Syndrome. When he molested me by trapping me in the aisle of the bus (he was 6′ tall and about 225 pounds to my 5’1″ and 120 pounds) and mashing his hands all over my breasts, the older counselor told me “he couldn’t help it” and not to yell at him, but just to “push him away and go sit down.” This was in 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri;

—2 assaults/maulings while walking in daylight in public spaces on a college campus. One was a teen on a bicycle who grabbed my breast, squeezed hard, laughed and rode away; I was in my 30s. I DID go to the “campus police” who practically laughed and didn’t even write down my report. This was at Yale University in the 1980s (I was there attending a professional conference).

—3 molestations/assaults by employers/supervisors, starting in college and continuing through my young adult years. While working in Food Service in the dorms’ cafeteria as part of my Work-Study financial aid program at the University of Wisconsin/Madison in 1972, a supervisor trapped me in the storage area, assaulted and tried to rape me. I managed to kick him in the groin and get away. I never went back to that job and had to find another one;

—3 sexual coercions involving drugs in private homes at parties, by high school peers;

—5 sexual assaults by “dates” (whom I did not date again) who grabbed/fingered me without asking before I even knew they were going to do that, starting in my early twenties and spanning into my late 50s, in cars, private homes, an outdoor party, a beach.

There were also uncountable male psychopaths, strangers who felt entitled to engage in assaults on my body via random ass-grabbing, “accidental brush-bys” and other groping and sexual attacks, including making kissing or sucking sounds, while I rode on public transportation vehicles or stood in waiting areas and hallways in various USA cities, throughout my teen and young adult years.

Some jerks repeatedly yell out horrible, horrendous street harassment comments, known unaffectionately as “cat-calls,” most accompanied by graphic gestures, pseudo-sexual sound-effects along with vulgar and completely offensive language whenever any female happens to be in sight of them by being on a sidewalk or an urban construction site’s walkway. These are also too numerous to track, occurring throughout my life until quite recently (I am now 63).

wednesday-asking-about-cat-calls
from https://dev.theodysseyonline.com/when-the-cat-calls-dont-answer

Send respect, healing, caring and compassion to all survivors and shut the disrespectful morons up completely.

Add your stories or number or both on your social media of choice: #metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

Dear parents of Brock Turner, and any “supportive” relatives, friends and associates…

Dear parents of Brock Turner, and any “supportive” relatives, friends and associates:

You are making things worse and you are horribly wrong to “support” Brock. I hope you can educate yourself and learn to change your position. Treat the woman he brutalized as the victim rather than Brock Turner.

assault is not an accident

Some facts:

—This supposedly mentally competent young man (Brock was a scholarship student at a prestigious university) did not “make a mistake” when he brutally assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. His intentions were clear and his actions thought out in advance.
—He did not “accidentally” drag this inebriated young woman off behind said dumpster. He considered his options and chose this as the best place to hide what he was doing to her.
—He was not “confused” when he decided to stick objects and himself into her naked body’s orifices as she lay amidst dirt and pine needles.
—He was not “unclear” about her inability to give consent when he tried to run away because 2 good Samaritans attempted to and did chase and stop him.

When asked about his crimes (which are not in question because there are witnesses and medical records to demonstrate his guilt, which was proven and he was convicted), Brock has lied repeatedly and still has not apologized or shown appropriate (healthy) remorse. These are not good signs.

The legal terminology here is clear: Brock Turner, “with malice aforethought,” “willingly and knowingly” committed “multiple felonious assaults” on a helpless woman.

malice aforethought

How can you depict Brock as any kind of victim?

His horribly venomous selfishness and inappropriate sense of entitlement (learned and encouraged, no doubt, from many of YOU) are part of a family and community pathology that shows itself in serious misogyny, part of what is termed “rape culture.”

—Do not defend him.
—Do not excuse him.
—Do not attempt to protect him from the consequences of his own actions.

—Do not pretend that this was a one-time event. Ask him. No one does an assault like this only once. He happened to get CAUGHT this time. I’m certain he has done this before, or worse.
“The research team discovered serial rapists are far more common than previous research suggested — a finding that could change how sexual assaults, including so-called acquaintance rapes, are investigated.” Data that are now considered typical; study from one county in the USA: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606122823.htm

—Your entire family and any “supportive” members of your community, religious and civic organizations need counseling to deal with how you have failed him and how your thinking and emotions are completely distorted about him and this tragic crime that he committed. If you/they have not been able to hear/read the entire text of the victim’s Impact Statement, do that. Read her letter repeatedly until you understand the enormous heinousness of his acts and your misguidedness.

—If you have sons, work with young boys or men, or are one, you should learn from this/teach several things:
1) Women are not anyone’s property to do whatever they want with, any time they want. It doesn’t matter how much or what she drinks, ingests, wears, says, looks like or acts like: she is not “yours.”

rape-time-to-stop

2) If a potential date or sexual partner can’t communicate coherently or at all, she can’t give consent for sex. Find her a safe friend to be with her and get her safely home.

3) Perpetrating physical acts that are sometimes considered “sex” on someone who has not given consent is NOT sex: these are acts of rape, assault and physical torture and are CRIMES. Do not even consider any other definitions.

4) It is your duty to make sure Brock and others who are legally required to register as sex offenders wherever they go, live and work DO register. Do not let him or others continue to ruin women’s lives.

failure-to-register

You can be compassionate about Brock’s pathologies and future problems without condoning what he did or making him “feel better” about it. He should NEVER “feel better” about any of it.

Sincerely,

Everyone else who is sane and compassionate