So, first things first. Some exciting news: I have begun my training with Alternatives to Violence to become a Victim’s Advocate!
The training is intense, four hours each night after I get off from work. But it goes by rather quickly, as we are a very involved group.
Last night, we were given a training by the SAVA (Sexual Assault Victims Advocate) Center based in Fort Collins, Co. SAVA is an excellent community organization and they have many events planned for the month of April. You can find out more about SAVA and Sexual Assault by clicking here.
One of their most intriguing upcoming events is the Faces Project:
So many of us are lead to believe that we deserved to be assaulted.
Because of the way we dress, being out when we shouldn’t have been.
Some of us were too naive.
Either way. If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault.
I repeat, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
At our training, we discussed facts vs. myths and there were some surprise facts and some not so surprise facts…I cannot put this in better words, so here are a few:
MYTH: Sexual assault is provoked by the victim. Victims ask for it by their actions, behaviors, or by their dress.
FACT: Studies indicate that the majority of sexual assaults are at least partially planned in advance. Sexual assault is not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. It is a violent attack on an individual using sex as a weapon to defile, degrade, and destroy a victim’s will and control over her or his body. For the victim, it is a humiliating, traumatizing situation.
MYTH: Only certain kinds of women get sexually assaulted. Only “bad girls” get sexually assaulted.
FACT: Rapists choose their victims without regard to physical appearance. Victims are of every type, age, race, moral persuasion, and socioeconomic class. Ages of reported victims range from 6 months to 93 years old.
MYTH: Sexual assault is a minor crime affecting only a few women. Its significance is exaggerated.
FACT: Current reports indicate that, nationally, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. However, less than 40% of sexual assaults are reported to the police. 125,910 sexual assaults were reported in 2009.
MYTH: Rape and sexual assault only occurs in large cities.
FACT: Sexual assault happens everywhere–in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Unfortunately, small communities are less likely to have the range of services available than in urban settings.
MYTH: Women frequently cry “rape” (i.e., there is a high rate of false reporting).
FACT: False reports make up only 2-8% of sexual assault reports, equal to or less than any other major crime. While some victims later recant, it’s important to remember that there are lots of reasons why victims of sexual assault never even report the crime or may be influenced to rescind initial accounts.
MYTH: Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by gay men.
FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them.
So, how can we be better informed? Awareness. Get the facts, follow your due diligence and not assumptions.
If you are a movie lover, here is a clip from a film that touches on Sexual Assault:
Sexual Assault is a serious issue cross-culturally. Please remember the women, children and yes, even men survivors of sexual assault in your daily prayers and meditations.
Whatever you do, please do not judge. We are all fighting our own battles. This month, we focus on those who have been sexually victimized.
Much love and peace to you today my dear friends. – E