Look who’s included in “Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2016 Collection,” by Natacha Guyot!

Look who’s included in “Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2016 Collection,” by Natacha Guyot!

Thanks, again, Natacha, for including me in your roster of #women #scifi #authors for 2016 and now, in this compendium of your interviews as a #free #ebook on #Smashwords (which has all ebook formats available for download).

Download your copy today! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/710894

The 2016’s women science-fiction authors Natacha interviewed and put into this book:

December 2016: Kate M. Colby

November 2016: Tonya R. Moore

October 2016: Alison Berrios

September 2016: Tracy Gardner

August 2016: Marie Bilodeau

July 2016: D. Wallace Peach

June 2016: Philippa Ballantine

May 2016: Amanda Ward

April 2016: Diana Gordon

March 2016: Sally Ember

February 2016: Jennifer A. Miller

January 2016: Robin Rivera and Heather Jackson

Visit Natacha’s website and read more of her work and blog: http://natachaguyot.org
She also has another compilation ebook and an ebook of some of her #feminist blog posts in another compilation on Smashwords, plus, the individual archives of her 2015’s interviews and the beginning two months’ worth of 2017’s interviews on her website.

“Natacha Guyot is a French researcher, author and public speaker. She holds two Master’s degrees: Film and Media Studies (Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Digital Culture and Technology (King’s College London). Her main fields of interest are Science-fiction, Gender Studies, Children’s Media and Fan Studies. Besides her nonfiction work, she also writes Science-Fiction and Fantasy stories.”

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Reblogging: The Best Women-Centric Films of 2016

The Best Women-Centric Films of 2016

https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/the-best-women-centric-films-of-2016-4445ff8a00a0#.93frs0b2h

You may be noticing a theme these past few weeks: reblogging feminist/women-centered films and TV shows from 2016 or upcoming this year…. Yes, I am.

These are all culled from a great site I now follow, Women & Hollywood, which I highly recommend subscribing to if you’re interested in these types of posts/films/shows. https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/

Reblogging: The Best-Reviewed Women-Directed Films of 2016, According to “Rotten Tomatoes”

The Best-Reviewed Women-Directed Films of 2016, According to Rotten Tomatoes

https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/the-best-reviewed-women-directed-films-of-2016-according-to-rotten-tomatoes-54897b3036c9#.pc3df6d65

Look who’s featured in this month’s #SciFi Women Interviews!

Thanks so much, Natacha Guyot, for featuring me and my Spanners Series books, in this month’s #SciFi Women Interviews!

natacha_banner_blog
https://wordpress.com/post/natachaguyot.org/4879

Check out her entire series! Awesome #women #scifi #authors!

scifiwomen-interviews-2
http://natachaguyot.org/blog-series/scifi-women-interviews/

2016
February 2016: Jennifer A. Miller
January 2016: Robin Rivera and Heather Jackson

2015
December 2015: Laura M. Crawford
November 2015: Patty Hammond
October 2015: Jo Robinson
September 2015: Rose B. Fischer
August 2015: Tricia Barr
July 2015: Natalie McKay
June 2015: Neelu Raut
May 2015: Saf Davidson
April 2015: Yolanda I. Washington
March 2015: Johnamarie Macias

“Family-Friendly” is a Thin Disguise for Discrimination: They are on the Wrong Side of History

“Family-Friendly” is a Thin Disguise for Discrimination:
They are on the Wrong Side of History

Who else is on the “wrong side of history” regarding expressions of and legal sanctions toward and behaviors sourced by prejudice, bias, discrimination, hatred against ethnic, racial, religious, gender and other social identity groups?

Adolph Hitler. Austria and Germany. George Wallace. Richard Nixon. Phyllis Schlafly. Anita Bryant. The United States of America. Several Catholic Popes. Margaret Thatcher. Great Britain. Mao Tse Tung. China.

The list is, unfortunately, endless, if we keep going into history and across the globe. Humans seem to have an unlimited ability to be irrational and small-minded.

Fortunately, we do learn. We do grow. Some more slowly than others, as we see all too often, but change we do. One of the main ways people change is through exposure, a personal “eye-opening” moment that educates them (“leads them out”) away from their irrationality and biases.

The other way is through enforcement, such as the enlightened few and the majority collaborating to change the laws that require citizens to change behaviors accordingly. When behaviors change, minds can follow: not always, and not completely, as we see with the laws of integration and other civil rights for Blacks in the USA NOT eliminating racial biases and racism, but these are certainly steps in the right direction.

The current social and political landscapes—right here, right now—are changing rapidly with respect to fairness, acceptance and legal rights for those with all sexual orientations and gender identities exactly as they did with racial intolerance in the 1960s.

As usual, some are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into this new way of being. They are simply not keeping up, are they? Laws often get “ahead” of some people’s mindsets. AREN’T WE LUCKY? The haters may keep on hating, but they have no legal, moral or individual “right” to impose their “opinions” any longer.

Some definitions, for those unclear on these concepts:

3definitions
from: http://littlelaughter.wordpress.com

bias-prejudice-discrimination-5-638
from http://pt.slideshare.net

Current circumstances:
I am an author who publicly proclaims myself a feminist. Anyone who knows me or reads me online or reads my books also knows I am Buddhist, Jewish, and bisexual, and I am vocally an anti-discrimination, anti-oppression activist.

I am also a reader who occasionally does reviews. Therefore, I do agree that each reviewer has the right to refuse to review any book we do not want to review. We do not have to give reasons, either.

However, I do not agree with the opinions, prejudices and biases this reviewer expresses when she gives some (but not all) of her reasons for discontinuing her reading of and refusing to review my book.

In fact, when we allow such actions to be fueled in these ways, not commenting, not confronting, we are aiding and abetting the institutional oppression rampant in literary circles. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” is never truer than in these circumstances.

Some would say that she would have been off not saying anything, but since she did, here we are.

Read below and comment, please! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

After finding me on a reviews-seeking site, this reviewer emailed me, saying that she wanted to review all three books in The Spanners Series. She wrote a few days later, saying she had started and was liking my first book.

Then, the next day, this potential reviewer sent me this email:

From: xxx

I will not be able to review your books. I have just come to a part that is [sic] conflict with my site. I have a family friendly blog and your book contains content that my readers would find offensive. It would also put at risk some of my advertising spots on my site that demand only family friendly content.

I understand that you were just trying to get across the point about non-discrimination but your content concerning sexual affiliation will not work with my site.

Best of luck to you,

xxx

“Hi, xxx,

“I have no idea what you mean by ‘not family-friendly’ or ‘offensive,’ since my books are accepted by ‘[Facebook authors’ group],’ a strict group on Facebook which promises readers fiction that won’t make them recoil. For example, I use no swear words stronger than ‘damn’ or ‘shit,’ there are no explicit sex scenes, no gratuitous or obvious violence, and no traumatic scenes in my books: they are PG-13.

“If you are objecting to any mention of or acceptance of alternative sexual orientations and gender identities to heterosexual or straight people or cis-gender people, if that would be something you or your followers find ‘offensive,’ then, please: DO NOT READ MY BOOKS.

“And, by the way, discrimination, bias and prejudice are NOT ‘family-friendly’ to any families I would want to be connected with, ever. Use of that terminology to describe what you are perhaps claiming is absurd.

“Since more than 10% of every population of humans on this planet are actually gay, lesbian or bisexual and at least 5% are transgendered, whose families are you ‘protecting’?

“If what I am assuming, in fact, are your positions, I find your views to be extremely offensive, and so would most of the rest of the world, at this point in time. Marriage equality and sexual identity acceptance are legal in many countries, including this one, and discrimination is NOT.

“I welcome you and your readers into the 21st century any time you’re ready to come.

“If I have misunderstood, I apologize. Please explain. I would welcome your further description of what, exactly, is ‘in conflict with’ your site and specifics as to your presumptions about your advertisers’ objections to the content of my books.”

Sally

She responded:

From: xxx

What is offensive is that you mention any sexual affiliation at all. I would not blurt out in a book that I was heterosexual. I would not refer to sex at all. It is irrelevant and has no place in a family friendly book. You can have any sexual orientation you want and that is your business but I don’t have to and will not promote it on my site. The fact that you felt you needed to make a political statement with your book is your business but I won’t be a part of it.

As I said Good Luck to you but I will not be doing this review.

xxx

Curious as what others who might be “in her camp” would say, I posted our email exchange on the group site I am part of, the one I mentioned, above, and asked for opinions.

I received the following anonymized responses (I didn’t include them all; some are repetitive or off-topic).

Then, I wrote a few responses, below.
Why do I bother? Because Education.

stop_prejudice_now_prop_watermark
from: http://teachersteachfromtheheart.blogspot.com

“Need[ Facebook Group members]’ opinions, please! Just had this exchange with a potential reviewer and I’m burning mad. (She approached me, BTW, asking to review my books via a [reviews-seeking/reviewers-finding site] last week!).

“She emailed me this earlier today…” (same as above, posted)

FB group’s responses:

From AAA:
“She has the right to her viewpoint, and I don’t think she should be dressed down, scolded, or insulted for it. I thought your words were rather condescending and insulting.

“OTOH, she should have done her research first before approaching you, and rather than try to take YOU to task for what she didn’t agree with in your books, she should have just politely said ‘sorry, I was wrong, it’s not going to work out this time.'”

From BBB:
“The old saying I’ve tried to remember is not to lower oneself to another’s level in order to argue or debate. It’s not ever worth it.”

From CCC:
“It’s her site, she can do as she wishes, just as you are able to write about anything you want to. This enters into the forbidden realm of writers who snap at reviewers for not liking what they wrote. She didn’t give you a bad review on her site, which she could have. She simply declined to review at all. It could have gone a LOT worse for you.”

From DDD:
“Sally, I totally get where you’re coming from, having experienced this kind of reaction (my books include gay characters who are treated as normal people). I’m living vicariously through your email because I’ve wished I could say something like that to reviewers who’ve one-started me because of it. smile emoticon But I’m inclined to agree that it’s better to steer clear of these rhetorical boondoggles. I’d just let this go and get on with writing. Your audience is out there, but it’s not this lady or her blog followers.”

From EEE:
“It’s her site. She is entitled to her opinion and the way she manages her site. We have our rules here, but IMHO, even shit and damn are not family friendly. She was polite. I’m sorry that you were not.”

From FFF:
“I have to say also, the reviewer could have gone ahead with her review, as she’d promised you one. She could have been completely open and honest about her opinion, and put it on her public site.
“Instead, when she saw it was something that she didn’t believe she could endorse, she privately messaged you, letting you know that she’d have to back out.
“This was gracious of her to do.
“So to be treated badly was not something that I feel she deserved.”

From GGG:
“PG-13 does not constitute ‘family-friendly’ in my mind. I have a 9, 7 and 4 year old, and I don’t even let them watch most PG movies.”

From HHH:
“Unfortunately, I have to agree with what many others here have commented. In addition, I have to point out that you ASSUMED her problem with your book was the fact that there are gay characters. She simply wrote that she came ‘to a part’ that conflicted with her site. The thing that may have bothered her could’ve been profanity, or whatever else is in your book. It can be dangerous to reprimand someone for their stance – especially since she could always turn around and decide to write a poor review, or even one-star your book.

“On a personal note, I write both Christian AND secular stories (things that would give Junot Diaz a run for his money in the department of shock value). So I can honestly say that even the words you listed are not ‘family friendly,’ meaning appropriate for all ages. As far as homosexuality is concerned, I have a #LiveAndLetLive philosophy on life. That means that I do not judge someone else for their lifestyle choice. However, that doesn’t mean I want my six year old reading about it. Again, it’s a subject not necessarily appropriate for all ages.”

From Me:
to HHH: “She came right out and stated what her concerns were. I didn’t assume what she objected to at all. I assumed her reasons, because she did not state them. Also, I did not expect any 6-year-olds to read this book; it’s way too complicated and sophisticated. PG-13 is the rating i always state. Thanks for your comments, though.”

From JJJ:
“Wow. And she was so polite…”

From Me:
“Since when are expressions of bias, prejudice and discrimination ‘polite’??? If her objections were obviously about my having Jewish or Black characters, would you be defending her ‘family-friendly’ smokescreen???”

From JJJ:
“She made her reasons for choosing not to include your work on her site clear to you in a very polite manner. Tolerance works both ways.”

From Me:
“To JJJ and others here: I appreciate all your comments, but for some of you, I am disappointed. SOME don’t seem to know the difference between being ‘impolite’ and being against someone else’s being discriminatory, Number 1.

“Number 2, it is not the job of those who are not being tolerated to return such intolerance with tolerance. I was not ‘impolite’ to her: I was direct and I expressed my thoughts and feelings. I did not call her names, I did not insult her.

“Remember: she VOLUNTEERED to read my books and had already sent me an email prior to this saying how much she was enjoying the first one. Then, she came to a part she didn’t ‘tolerate,’ which she and her groups, of which some of you are obviously members, seem to think it’s just fine to insult and demean. That is plain wrong. She doesn’t have to like it. She could have just said “It’s not for me” and DNF or not even written me. But, she chose to ‘explain.’

“Those who are not heterosexual or cis-gender do not deserve to be treated as if we are threats, are wrong to be ‘this way,’ or by our very existence, are ‘problems’ for ‘families.’ We ARE in families!

“I will defend to my dying day the right of all who are discriminated against to object strenuously to such discrimination, wherever it appears, however ‘nicely’ it is phrased.

“Maybe some of you are too young or didn’t have these experiences, but I grew up in Missouri under Jim Crow laws. I grew up with signs on stores and country clubs that said : ‘No Dogs, No Jews, No Niggers Allowed.’ Should I have greeted those racists with ‘tolerance’????? I am a Jewish, female bisexual. Our country is in the exact same place now with LGBT rights and biases as it was then with Jews and Blacks.

“Remember when women weren’t treated as ‘humans,’ weren’t allowed to vote, sit with men, drive, own property? Would you all be so ‘tolerant’ if she had said her ‘family-friendly’ group doesn’t want to read books with autonomous female characters, that all women be subservient to their families’ males to be considered ‘family-friendly’? Whoever doesn’t see the connections, here, I’m sad for all of you.”

From JJJ:
“Comments about the relative politeness of exchanges of views are not an automatic acceptance of intolerance or prejudice. In fact they are no comment at all about the relative merits of the content of the exchange – just the manner in which comments have been delivered.”

From Me:
“Thanks for all of your ideas, comments, and responses, here. Group. I am sorry that some of you still believe that strongly worded disagreement is ‘impolite,’ but we’re going to have to agree to disagree, there. Best to you all.”

hate-crimes-305
from: http://www.calgary.ca

Okay, Followers/Readers and Other Peeps: Weigh in! What do you believe/do?

Please leave comments on this blog! Thanks! Best to you all!

1) Should we authors all just “be polite” when confronted with reviewers’ prejudices?

2) Should we authors “be silent” when potential or actual reviewers express their biases and refuse to “serve” us at the “review” lunch counter because our books or characters don’t meet with their “approval” (don’t have a right to exist)?

3) Is it incumbent upon us all not to allow any reviewer to give or imply that their personal, political, religious or other biases as/are sufficient “reasons” for refusing to review a book? Or, do you recommend letting that go unchallenged?

4) Does simply having LGBT characters make a book “unfriendly” to “families” and/or inappropriate for youth?

2015 GLORIA AWARDS (in honor of Gloria Steinem) from the Ms. Foundation for Women

Can’t say enough good things to and about these #feminist leaders, innovators, advocates and authors. read about and support this year’s group of honorees!

There is a great GALA on May 11 at 6 PM in New York City, USA, and an “after party” from 9 – 11 PM at the same location. Both cost money.

See below for more info, but mostly, I’m posting about the Honorees, who ROCK!

2015 GLORIA AWARDS
Ceremony is on May 11, 2015, in New York City, Pierre Hotel, 6 PM, 2 E 61st St, 10065
Contact: events@ms.foundation.org or 212.709.4436
Purchase tickets, get more info here:
http://www.forwomen.org/gala

the Ms. Foundation for Women

msfoundation logo
to celebrate and honor
ACT FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS
Ms. Foundation Grantees
2015 Woman of Vision Award Winners

****CENTRO DE LOS DERECHOS DEL MIGRANTE
Ms. Foundation Grantee
Woman of Vision Award

CDM logo
http://www.cdmigrante.org/

CDM supports Mexico-based migrant workers to defend and protect their rights as they move between their home communities in Mexico and their workplaces in the United States. Founded in 2005, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) is the first transnational migrant workers’ rights organization based in Mexico.”

****SUZANNE LERNER
Co-Founder and President, Michael Stars, Inc.
Woman of Vision Award

Suzanne Lerner
http://www.michaelstars.com/

Suzanne Lerner is an entrepreneur, political activist and philanthropist. She is currently the president of Michael Stars and owner of Lerner Et Cie. Suzanne Lerner boasts decades of experience in business, as well as a background in dozens of causes, primarily centered around female empowerment. In 1983, Lerner founded Lerner et Cie, a wholesale fashion showroom, currently with four locations nationwide. Lerner co-founded and currently serves as President of retail clothing company, Michael Stars. Lerner primarily oversaw sales and marketing until 2015, when she was appointed President. Lerner’s second career is philanthropy – both personal and with the Michael Stars Foundation. Lerner serves on the board of Women Thrive Worldwide, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Prosperity Catalyst and Children Mending Hearts. She is also a member of Women Donors Network and Women Moving Millions. Lerner funds a number of NGO’s that focus on women’s empowerment, economic stability, gender reconciliation and gender-based violence. She resides in Los Angeles.”

****GOLDIEBLOX: Construction Toys for Girls
Corporate Innovation Award

gb_about_goldie
http://www.goldieblox.com/

“Debbie Sterling is the founder and CEO of GoldieBlox. She never knew what engineering was until her high school math teacher suggested she pursue it as a college major. Debbie couldn’t figure out why her math teacher thought she should be a train conductor! Nevertheless, she gave engineering a try during her freshman year at Stanford. Four years later, she graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering / Product Design. Bothered by how few women there were in her program, Debbie became obsessed with the notion of “disrupting the pink aisle” with a toy that would introduce girls to the joy of engineering at a young age.”

****JANET MOCK, Author and Advocate
Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award

janet-mock-redefining-realness-available-now
http://janetmock.com/

“JANET MOCK is the New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. She considers herself a Beyoncé scholar but is widely known as a sought-after speaker and prominent advocate for trans women’s rights. A native of Honolulu, Janet attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earned her MA in journalism from New York University, and worked as a Staff Editor for People.com (People magazine’s website) for five years. In 2012, Janet launched #GirlsLikeUs, a social movement that empowers trans women and celebrates the diversity of womanhood. In 2013, Janet joined the board of directors at the Arcus Foundation, a leading global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues. She lives and writes in New York City with her boyfriend, photographer and filmmaker, Aaron Tredwell and their cockapoo, Cleo. Currently, she hosts the weekly culture show “So POPular!” on MSNBC’s Shift network and serves as Contributing Editor for Marie Claire.”

And, a special award:
The Free to Be Foundation gives its first-ever
Peggy Charren/Free to Be You and Me Award to
JOAN GANZ COONEY, Co-Founder, Children’s Television Workshop

Joan GanzCooney

Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder in 1968 of Children’s Television Workshop (renamed Sesame Workshop in June 2000) and originator of the preschool educational series, Sesame Street, served as President and Chief Executive Officer until 1990. She is currently Chair of the Executive Committee of Sesame Workshop‘s Board of Trustees and in November 2007 introduced the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, dedicated to investigating the potential of digital media to help children learn and collaborating with educators, media producers, policymakers and investors to put this research into action.

Sesame Street, which began as an experiment, is the first preschool program to integrate education and entertainment as well as feature a multi-cultural cast. It has been broadcast daily since 1969 in the U.S. on the more than 300 stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and is seen by millions of children in more than 150 countries. Indigenous co-productions of Sesame Street reflecting local languages, customs and educational needs are produced for audiences all over the world.

“Following the successful launch of Sesame Street, Ms. Cooney and her colleagues created other award-winning children’s series on network and public TV including The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One TV, Ghostwriter, CRO, Big Bag, Dragon Tales, Sagwa the Chinese Cat and Pinky Dinky Doo, each offering educational opportunities around science, mathematics, reading and bringing new experiences to life.

Sesame Workshop programs have been awarded over 150 Emmys and have received scores of other honors presented here and around the world. The Workshop’s activities also include publishing, digital media, product licensing and community engagement efforts such as the award winning program — Talk, Listen, Connect — launched in 2006 to help military families with young children between the ages of two and five build a sense of stability and resiliency during times of separation and change.

“Ms. Cooney is presently a Director at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and a Lifetime Trustee of the Paley Center for Media, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, WNET Channel 13/Educational Broadcasting Corporation and of the National Child Labor Committee and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.”

In 1968, children’s television programming was revolutionized with the creation [by of the Children’s Television Workshop – the force behind Sesame Street, The Electric Company and many other award-winning educational programs.”
Peggy Charren was the founder of Action for Children’s Television, which lobbied broadcasters, advertisers and legislators to create quality educational programming and TV commercials that promote healthy eating and positive child development.

Also being honored:
ACT for Women and Girls as Women of Vision
http://www.actforwomenandgirls.org/

ACT Logo

“Based in Visalia, California, ACT for Women and Girls works to transform women of all ages into leaders for reproductive rights and health care. Through the Female Leadership Academy, ACT engages women from the community to take active roles in eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of California’s Central Valley region – addressing poverty, teen pregnancy, unemployment and environmental issues.

“The Ms. Foundation for Women is proud to be a longtime supporter of ACT for Women and Girls, and honors them as Women of Vision for their innovative efforts to promote and protect reproductive rights.”

ACT is located in Visalia, California, the epicenter and largest metropolitan area of Tulare County. Led by Erin Garner-Ford, ACT‘s mission is to engage women of all ages in leadership opportunities to promote social and personal change. ACTwas founded in 2005 with the creation of the Female Leadership Academy (FLA) program. From the inception of FLA, it was evident that reproductive justice issues demanded to be addressed, as participants were often misinformed about reproductive health, justice, and access.

“Unlike Southern California and the Bay Area, Tulare County has few resources and is the most adversely impacted region in California regarding social issues, such as poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and environmental degradation. ACTtakes an active role in eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of the Central Valley. Through one young woman at a time, ACT makes an impact.

ACT engages young people ages 14-24 through three program areas: The signature eight month leadership program, FLA, which develops young women leaders to actively engage in the reproductive health and justice movement; ACTion Teams for young women and men to educate their peers on sexual health information in the community through events, street outreach and education; and Teen Success, a support group for pregnant and parenting teen moms. ACT’s program participants come from every rural community in Tulare County.

“Through ACT’s programs, young women are prepared and energized to actively participate in shaping the future of their communities (both locally and globally). ACT focuses on reproductive justice leadership, developing young women leaders to engage in civic participation projects and partners with state and national groups for policy advocacy work. The overarching vision of ACT’s reproductive justice work is to INCREASE ACCESS to reproductive health education, contraception, abortion, and protection against sexually transmitted infections. ACT strives to promote services that are comprehensive and culturally competent, influence legislation, and provide a voice from the Central Valley on important bills that impact women and their health.

“Each of ACT’s program participants contribute to ACT’s grassroots campaigns to increase awareness of reproductive health and justice. One of the cornerstones to developing young women’s leadership is through direct action and organizing opportunities. Participants help shape and implement three signature reproductive justice campaigns annually: Pharmacy Access; Comprehensive Sexual Health and Education Initiative; and ‘Don’t Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date.'”


Ms Afterparty eVite 42215
Link to purchase tickets for the “after-party”: http://forwomen.org/afterparty
($75 in advance; $100 at the door).

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

Because of the uproar over the continually surfacing reports of sexual assault perpetrated by 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.

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 resources:

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, the USA White House’s 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.