Tag Archives: sexual assault

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Summer is here!!

Summer is finally here and we all know what that means! Nice warm days, barbeques, ice-cold slushies by the swimming pool, long nights with friends and of course beach parties. But all of that could come with potential dangers especially for young people, who don’t always make their safety a priority. A night out drinking and partying can easily turn wrong and many people could get hurt in different ways. When you go out with your friends, all you could think about is if you look good and what kind of drinks there will be at the party. It is really important to know that drinking could cloud your judgment and that may affect how you think. If you’re going to drink while you are out with friends, always make sure you all designate someone to remain sober at all times.
sunny-cove

You could never be too careful and there are other ways to add another layer of protection. There are a few Apps that could help you out during a difficult situation such as Circle of Six which lets a person instantly and discreetly message friends for help if they are in trouble. A GPS locator lets others know where you are. http://www.circleof6app.com/
circle of 6

Tips on how to have a fun and safe summer:
• Don’t let alcohol or other drugs cloud your judgment. Alcohol decreases awareness, so people are less likely to guard themselves against aggressive or coercive behavior.
• Acknowledge and understand that consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time. Without putting yourself in danger, leave if you feel uncomfortable. Most importantly, if you do not consent, verbalize it. Say “No!” and get up and go.
• Avoid going into secluded areas. Be conscious of exits or other escape routes.
• Have a code word with friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable, you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing.
• If you see a friend heading into a dangerous situation at a party, encourage them to leave or stay by their side.
• Always keep an eye on every beverage you drink. Once you lose sight of your drink, don’t consume it anymore just get a new one.
• Trust your instincts. If a situation or place makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way to get out of a bad situation.
• Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have money.
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Have a safe summer!
Sincerely,
The Prevention Team from WCS~DdM

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“Happy” Holidays?

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Kayla Harrison is a judoka from the United States of America and in 2012 she was the gold medalist at the London Olympics in the 172-pound women’s division. Harrison beat four opponents, including British finalist Gemma Gibbons, who was being … Continue reading

Who or what is KONY 2012?

OK! A lot of people have been asking WHO or WHAT is KONY 2012? With 84,077,445 hits and counting and  over 1.3 million likes, KONY 2012 is becoming or should I say IS a world-wide phenomenon! KONY 2012 is a documentary which has spurred a virtual movement to bring one man, Joseph Kony, to justice.

The #KONY2012 and #StopKony hash tags has been trending on Twitter and the movement has already reached millions. If you haven’t seen the video or if you don’t know who Kony is, then educate yourself a little.


The documentary, KONY 2012, was produced by a group called Invisible Children. Filmmakers followed around a former child soldier named Jacob from Uganda. The film’s message is simple, to make the name Joseph Kony infamous, “not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice”.

Kony is the leader of a group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa. The LRA is widely credited with kidnapping over 30,000 children and forcing them to be soldiers or sex slaves.

Kony was indicted in 2005 for war crimes by an International Court but has eluded capture.

Together we can put an end to this monster’s heinous crimes against humanity. If you want to take a STAND and have your VOICE heard, please sign the pledge to help bring Kony to justice in 2012 @ www.kony2012.com  We CAN make a difference. #KONY2012

Hey Tweeters: Rape is Not a Joke!

[Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault]

Social media, like everything else, has a good side… and a bad side. The idea that social media can bring people together to talk about a subject is wonderful IF the subject is a positive one. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

During the weekend, a horrible hashtag was the number one trending topic worldwide. The hashtag? #ItAintRapeIf.

We’re not even going to mention some of the hurtful jokes people were coming up with to tag along with this trend, but it was a cruel reminder that we have a long way to go before everyone realizes the seriousness of an assault.

Rape is not a joke. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United Sates has be raped at some time in their lives. 80% of female victims of rape experienced their first rape before the age of 25. This is serious stuff and it affects more people than we think. People that we know.

A victim faces so many obstacles to reporting after being assaulted. Self-blame is a huge reason… not knowing that it is never the victim’s fault. Many of the trending topic responses we saw on twitter were victim blaming. The reality is that there is NO EXCUSE for rape. It is NOT the victim’s fault and nothing anybody does or says justifies an assault.

It is about absolute, definitive, vocal, undeniable CONSENT from someone who is well within their senses. Without consent, it is an assault.

Fortunately, there were some people who stood up for what they thought was right and fought back with the hashtag #RapeIsntAJoke. As a community, we need to stand up and put an end to the victim blaming, the rape jokes and the excuses. Victims need our full support.

When does “whining” on Twitter/Facebook become an alarm?

We all have them. Those friends who think it’s everyone’s business to know when they are happy, angry, upset, feeling lazy, and hungry. The million-posts-a-day friends. But when those posts become scary, and by scary we mean: confessions of being sexually assaulted and molested, forced into prosititution and insinuations of commiting suicide, do you know what to do?

On November 7th, 2011, in a suburban town near Houston, Texas, 18-year-old Ashley Billasano stayed home from school and went on a tweeting frenzy. [Warning: Tweets are intense and explicit.] She wrote 144 detailed tweets about her experiences with sexual assault, molestation by a family member, and being forced into prostitution at the young age of 14. She also tweeted about telling the authorities and CPS (Child Protective Services). She later was told there “wasn’t enough evidence for prosecution” and that’s when she made a devastating decision. After already having failed at suicide once, and after the tweeting rampage, Billasano (or “Billy” as her friends knew her) took her own life just moments after sending a final tweet which read “Take two. Hope I get this right.”

We have to view this tragic loss as a wake-up call. In today’s age, it is undeniable that social networking online is the main source of communication between us all.  Especially among the youth! Youth spend more time on twitter and facebook than they do working on homework. (The majority anyway, if it doesn’t include you, KUDOS!!) So in a world where posting statuses and tweets about what we’re doing and where we’re going is considered NORMAL, how do we know when we need to step in for someone else?

Go with your gut.

If one of your facebook “friends” or someone you are “following” on Twitter is posting some really over the top posts where they seem EXTREMELY upset, more than usual, and it makes the alarm in your head go off a little, TRUST it!

Remember, when someone goes through a traumatic experience such as sexual assault, they tend to go through a rollarcoaster of emotions and may act in a way we might not understand.

So if you come across something like this, and your gut is telling you to ACT, here are some suggestions on what you can do:

  • Talk to them. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. Not judge them. Believe them. And if they’re reaching out on a social networking site, it’s probably because they have no where else to go & want someone to just step in and say “Hey, I care.” However, if the situation is dangerous, you should refer them to professional resources or report.
  • Report to a person with authority. If the situation is too intense, and you don’t feel you are the appropriate person to take care of this issue, do not hesitate to contact a teacher, parent, principal. SOMEONE. You never know, you might be the only one trying to do something and by telling someone who can help, you are doing your part.
  • Report to law enforcement. Sometimes you might think immediate action is needed. Use your better judgement! If it seems like an emergency, it probably is.

Never assume that someone is exaggerating their self-pity. A series of whiny posts may actually be a cry for help. Ashley posted 144 tweets and no one responded. We all need to feel like someone cares for us at times. Take action! Do something and you might just save a life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects after a sexual assault and you live in the Santa Cruz/Pajaro Valley Area, call Women’s Crisis Support-Defensa de Mujeres toll-free crisis line at:

1-888-900-4232

For someone outside of the area struggling with sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at:

 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, and you live in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline for your area at:

Santa Cruz: 831-458-5300

Monterey: 831-649-8008

Or Toll Free at: 877-ONE-LIFE (877-663-5433)

For someone dealing with suicide outside of the area, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Vice President Biden on “The View” to Discuss Teen Dating Violence & Sexual Assault

Hello I.Standers!

We came across this message and thought it would be great to share with you all! The office of Vice President Biden released this message September 23rd, 2011.

We thought you might be interested to know that Vice President Biden will be the special guest on “The View” this coming Tuesday, September 27 (11AM Eastern).  The Vice President will focus on the threat of dating violence and sexual assault among teens and young adults.

Last week, in a video message, Vice President Biden called on high school and college students to share their ideas for how to prevent dating violence and sexual assault at their schools and on their college campuses.  Young men and women are invited to join this important conversation by submitting their ideas via the new whitehouse.gov/1is2many page or by using the hashtag #1is2many on Twitter.

Visit the website to learn more about federal efforts on this important issue: http://www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many/about/federal-efforts

All the best,
The Office of the Vice President

So if you have time during your day (and no, we’re not advising you to ditch school— TVo!) tune in, or look for videos of the interview online.  Let us know what you think and leave a comment!

Vice President Joe Biden