When everyone else gives up, find your strength

I went to a very small liberal arts college in Maryland. When I say small, I’m talking under 2,000 students small.  It is the type of school where everybody knows everybody else and you would be hard-pressed to find someone you had never seen before. I can honestly say that during my four years there, I never once didn’t feel safe. It was the type of place where everyone just took care of each other.

I’m not saying that bad things didn’t happen at my school, but when they did it felt like everyone came together. I really believe that every member of my collegiate family, whether students, faculty or staff, cared by each other.

So when I read articles of college students being sexually assaulted by fellow students it always seemed so unfathomable to me.  “That must have happened at a big school,” we would always say. So, when I read a recent article in the New York Times about a sexual assault that happened at another small school, Amhurst College, I couldn’t believe it. Now listen, I’m not naïve enough to think that sexual assault doesn’t happen at every college, even my own alma mater. But what really shocked me to my core was the reaction of the college’s staff and administration.

When the student was ready to seek counseling for her assault, the staff victimized her again. She lived in the same dorm as her attacker, and when she asked to be relocated, she was told she couldn’t move because all of the buildings were full. They also told her that pressing charges would be “useless” as the student was about to graduate. They even asked her if she was “sure she had been raped.”

She could have given up. She could have accepted this as the end of her fight. Instead, this student wrote an article for her school newspaper, telling the story of not only her rape, but her encounter with the school’s staff as well. Her story gave others strength. As the New York Times’ article explains that her article “prompted other Amherst students, past and present, to step forward publicly and say that they, too, had been sexually assaulted here, treated poorly afterward, and in many cases had left campus rather than be around assailants who were allowed to remain.”

While the school’s staff may not have stood behind this victim, the student body did. This small college was outraged at the actions of its staff, and banded together to instill change. With the support of the school’s new president, real change is being made at Amhurst College. While the student no longer attends the school, I can hope that she is proud of the impact she has had there.

This article really hit home with me. It made me proud to go to a school with a staff that was always there for its students, but it also reminded of the power you need to find within yourself. This student could have so easily given up on herself when the staff turned her away. But she didn’t. She found the strength within herself to tell her story. And it changed an entire institution. When everyone else gives up on you, never give up on yourself.

I’m a big fan of quotes, and I think this one really sums up this article:

“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results… but it’s the effort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lost, I admire those who fight the good fight.”  – George R. R. Martin

 

Written by:  Alexandra L.     November 2012

Standing Up For What Is Right

I recently came across an article that bewildered my mind. It actually made me stop and reflect. It made me realize that predators are everywhere; they can even be in our own homes.

A woman was in a relationship with a man. They began having problems and she no longer wanted to be in the relationship; she ended it. He didn’t take it well and wouldn’t leave. Despite all her attempts he continued to affirm the relationship. Then when sex became an issue she declined and he forced it upon her anyway.

Big Mistake!

Simply because you are in a relationship with someone, or because you have had relations with them in the past does not in any way entitle you to do it again. If a person says no, even just once, that’s it! End of story.

This man was charged for rape and sentenced to jail time.

This is a great example of peoples sense of entitlement on those they are in a relationship with. A person’s body is their own temple to do as they want with, it is never at the disposal of another, even if it is ones spouse.

There were many people’s personal opinions brought in on this case too. Many people think that it shouldn’t be a big deal for them to still be intimate but when a person declines that simply means they don’t want to. Why should she do something that she doesn’t want to do, and furthermore why should people judge her for turning him in for it. She is not causing unnecessary problems, he did! It goes back to the ideas that we teach our children; we are in charge of our own actions and we will punished when we make the wrong choices.

Written by: Ashten Meadows

October 2012

RA Dickey Story

As Major League Baseball’s regular season comes to an end, there is one player’s story that really stands out. Robert Allen “R.A.” Dickey, pitcher for the New York Mets, has a truly inspiring story. After being drafted in 1996 by the Texas Rangers, Dickey bounced from team to team with limited success. In 2010, Dickey joined with New York Mets, and broke out this year as the league’s only true knuckleballer winning 20 games in 2012.

Aside from the perseverance and determination he has shown as a pitcher and ball player, R.A. Dickey has survived much more. During his rise to baseball fame in 2012, Dickey also released his autobiography Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knucleball. In this in-depth, personal book, Dickey delves into his personal life and career.

But R.A. Dickey is more than a baseball player. He is a survivor. In his memoir, Dickey divulges two separate incidents of sexual assault suffered during the summer when he was only 8 years old — the first by a 13 year old female babysitter, and the second by a 17 year old male. Statistically speaking, 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Of sexually abused children grades five through twelve, 48% of the boys told no one about the abuse.

In a recent article on ESPN.go.com Dickey explains his hope for the book: “One of the hopes I have for the book, and will have as long as it’s out, is that people will be able to draw something from it that may help them — whether it’s to talk about it more, not to be afraid, to be open with what’s happened, and that there are people available that will love you no matter what. I kind of grew up in a place where I didn’t necessarily feel that.”

To read an excerpt from the book, visit sportsillustrated.cnn.com.

Written by: Alexandra L.

Vulnerability; Don’t Let It Happen To You!

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"Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence" - AUGUST 14 - Baton Rouge, LA

There was an article about a man who lured a 17 year old churchgoer into his home by telling her that he could rid her of bad spirits. He told her he could do some sort of witchcraft and rid anything bad. She believed him and went inside. He then raped her and told her that he would put a curse on her if she told anyone. He was arrested and has a 60,000 dollar bail amount.

My point to this article is that this young girl is a victim but we need to understand our own strengths and we need to be accountable for our actions. We cannot make ourselves vulnerable to these predators. However, in no way, shape, or form is this young girl to blame for anything that happened. The truth is, people should be able to dress however they want and do whatever they please and should never feel that they are “asking for it”. We need to be aware of our situations and we need to not be too trusting. I don’t believe that every person is a criminal but negligence is a powerful source for any perpetrator. We as a society need to help our youth understand that people are dangerous and that they need to be aware of their surroundings and to never enter someone’s house alone as this child did. We tell our children to never talk to strangers but where do we draw the line when it comes to trust?

Predators are in every city and could be your neighbor or your neighborhood clerk. Predators look for targets, the key is to be aware of this and do what you can to prevent it. Never enter someone’s house you don’t know alone; and especially if they are telling you something that seems too good to be true. Never walk alone at night, always be aware of your surroundings and let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to come back.

 

From http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/black-magic-rape-suspect-arrested/

By Ashten Meadows

Through the Eyes of a Survivor Named Kendra

Many survivors find it extremely hard to open up about their own rape or sexual assault personal experience and the way that they decide to deal with the situation is different for each person. However, after talking to an amazing sexual assault survivor named Kendra Ely, you (as a reader) can get an exclusive insight to how she felt when she first came forward after approaching RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) for advice and how they helped her through the healing process. Kendra openly shared about how she felt when she first came forward.

“I was always scared and had lost my sense of security when I first came forward. It was hard for me to do it but RAINN really helped me feel comfortable about doing it and were very supportive to me at the time.” – Kendra

What Kendra was feeling at the time, is a normal part of the healing process for any survivor to go through when coming forward. The possible reason for this; is that sometimes it feels easier for a survivor to stay quiet because it is less painful and a way for them to try and forget it ever happened to them.

“To live as a sexual assault survivor I feel so ashamed. I feel people can see right through me. I feel so dirty.” – Kendra

This is a common type of coping mechanism that many survivors do to protect themselves from not only pain (both emotionally and physically) but an even bigger factor, is also because they are scared. Reasons for being scared are different for each individual survivors but for Kendra, she expressed that when she came forward, she was scared about what it will do to her as a person, how it will affect her life with future intimate relationships, how people will interact with her after finding out, and whether she can trust people especially men at all.

“After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards. In particular, survivors of sexual violence may experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” – RAINN

No matter how badly beaten or barely showing any physical damage that is seen after surviving a rape or/and sexual assault encounter, the person attacked is always going to be scared and fearful. As soon as someone has been attacked, they instantly lose their power of control because the predator has automatically taken the control off them. Because of this, some survivors like Kendra start to feel insecure with themselves as a person and constantly put them-selves down in a negative way.

“Because your personal boundaries were invaded when you were young by someone you trusted and depended on, you may have trouble understanding that you have the right to control what happens to you.” – RAINN

By having a great organization like RAINN there for assistance as a helpful support system for survivors like Kendra, they can help get survivors past this negative way of thinking. It is the support that RAINN provides, the encouragement they share, and the hope they give to survivors, that give people like Kendra the hope and strength to overcome negative thoughts and start to move forward to thinking in a positive way.

“In most instances, the survivor never discussed the abuse with others while it was occurring. In fact, many survivors do not remember the abuse until years after it has occurred, and may never be able to clearly recall it. Usually, after being triggered by a memory, this individual learns how, as an adult, to deal with the effects of the abuse. It is important to speak with someone, whether it is a friend or counsellor, about the abuse and past and current feelings.” – RAINN

Once a survivor has their mind set on speaking in a negative way about themselves after being victimized, it is hard to go back to how they were without any help. Unfortunately this happens a lot because it is used as a defence mechanism as a way to prevent themselves (as a survivor) from getting hurt again. To a survivor like Kendra, it seems like the easiest answer and most logical choice because how they feel on the inside is generally what they are showing (physically) on the outside too. Survivors like Kendra do this because they do not feel beautiful but dirty instead as Kendra explained earlier. Just like many other survivors, they try to look less attractive in public to avoid sending out extra physical attention because it is a way of protecting themselves from being violated again. However with the help from an inspirational organization like RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) they can help teach survivors like Kendra learn how to regain back control of their life and start to feel worthy as a person they truly are.

“It feels like I go through phases. Some days I feel like it’s all I think about and other days I doubt whether or not it even happened. I don’t feel great on the inside most of the time, especially when all I can think about is what happened to me. – Kendra

Whether it has been twenty years or a few days after being victimized, every survivor copes with it in a different way but no matter what way, the one thing that is for certain is that no survivor is at fault for what happened to them and that they are worthy. It is perfectly normal to be scared after being raped or sexually assaulted and whether you come forward straight away or twenty years later, it is never too late to get help. Organizations like RAINN are always going to be there to help and support those survivors who need it so for any reader who needs someone to talk to, please know that you can go to RAINNs online hotline at any time.

Just know: You are never alone, and it is never too late to get the help you need and deserve!

To contact RAINN:

Phone: 1 800 656 HOPE
Hotline: RAINN’s 24 Hour Hotline

Warning: New Date Rape Drug; Easier than Ever!

Warning: New Date Rape Drug; Easier than Ever!

This article is set to inform people that there is a new drug on the “market”. This drug is said to be easier to hide and access, and very much cheaper than other known “date rape drugs”. It is an eye drop that’s considered the new form of Rohypnol and it is being used to spike victims’ drinks making them much easier targets.

Police are saying that it isn’t really a problem however many people in the nightclub industry are saying a completely different story. Nightclubs are refusing to let any form of eye drops be brought into their nightclubs. Their advice: don’t accept drinks or ice cubes from strangers. They can even spike the ice cubes if they have an accomplice behind the bar. Never drink communal drinks either. “And if a friend suddenly feels ill at a party, never leave them unattended. The rapist wants to isolate her in the bathroom, where he can rape her and she won’t recall a thing.”

The eye drops are not effective unless put into alcohol, so for any sober drinker there is no way to spike their drink with this. The alcohol acts as a catalyst and the more concentrated the alcohol is the stronger the drug will hit the victim.

Symptoms are dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea and amnesia. The effects the next day feel like a person drank ten times what they really did.

Everyone should be aware of their surroundings and no what to look for. Being informed is the first step in protecting yourself.

“Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence” – AUGUST 14 – Baton Rouge, LA

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"Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence" - AUGUST 14 - Baton Rouge, LA

“Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence”AUGUST 14 – Baton Rouge, LA

Click to View the LSP Training Invitation

Please join us for the 2nd Annual “Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence” training seminar.  Last year we focused on the victims of sexual violence – this year’s program will focus on sex offenders. CLICK HERE:

LSP Training Agenda v2

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month!

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September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month!

FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up!

This September, national non-profits Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE) and the Clery Center for Security On Campus are partnering with other organizations and institutions for the Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign, an initiative for National Campus Safety Awareness Month. Safe Campus, Strong Voices engages campus communities in increasing awareness and engagement around campus safety issues such as sexual assault, dating violence, hazing, stalking, and high-risk drinking. It empowers students as bystanders to make changes in their campus environment and encourages victims to seek the support they deserve.

“The first few weeks of college are critical,” says Amy Guthrie, Program Coordinator for the Clery Center. “National Campus Safety Awareness Month is an opportunity to start dialogue about campus safety early in the school year, a time when we typically see an increase in crime.”

PAVE founder Angela Rose travels nationally telling her own survivor story, encouraging students to get involved and find support within their community. “Every time I speak on a college campus, there’s a line of students who want to disclose that they have been affected by sexual assault and most have never reported,” says Rose.

Institutions implementing the Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign receive resources that help them implement National Campus Safety Awareness Month programming on their campuses. Collaborators such as the Stalking Resource Center, ResponseAbility, the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Hollaback!, Stop the Silence, Students Active for Ending Rape, HazingPrevention.org, Break the Cycle, and the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan contributed insight and information to help benefit institutions.

On September 25, 2013, institutions can also participate in a national day of action in which students will make a pact to work to end sexual assault at their institutions. The pact, created through a partnership between the Clery Center and collaborative documentary teams at 5 institutions (Rowan University, Western State Colorado University, Northern Illinois University, Framingham State University, and California State University: Northridge), recognizes the importance of bystanders in preventing sexual violence.

FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up!

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PAVE My Stories: Military Male Survivor Speaks Out – Part One

Coming forward about rape or sexual assault is never easy for a survivor to do after it has happened to them, and in most cases that do or we hear of, are generally females. It is not just because males are less likely to be attacked, but for a male survivor to come forward it seems to be proven more difficult. However, thanks to James Landrith who was an active Military duty U.S Marine, he uses his voice to encourage other male survivors to come forward to come forward a give hope to others. James openly expresses how the  organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse. Incest, National Network) helped his journey to healing and how even being a survivor from a few years, can still bring up bad memories. However, by using techniques he has learned through professional advice, he knows how to overcome those feelings.

“I was drugged and raped by a woman who bought me a few drinks. She used blackmail and coercion to ensure my compliance once the effects of the drugged drinks wore off. I was an active duty U.S. Marine and she was a local civilian. Dealing with the aftermath of sexual violence takes on a different form daily. I never know when or if I will be triggered or by what.” – James Landrith

Unfortunately after being sexually victimized like James has been, survivors struggle to live each day without feeling the urge of suppressed feelings and thoughts about what happened to them. To many survivors just like James, this can cause an unexpected panic and stress attack that alarms/triggers the survivor to the feeling of being unsafe.

“I never know when or if I will be triggered or by what. As I type this now, I have been fighting a week long panic attack and I am unsure of its source. Some days, I don’t even think about it and go on about my business unhindered. However, on other days, it is at the front of my mind and I find myself checking for exits in any room I enter or elevator I ride.” – James Landrith

These feelings can raise so much stress on their body both physically and mentally because their mind goes back to when their encounter was/took place and struggle to come back to reality. However, with an organization as helpful as RAINN is to survivors, they are there to teach and provide information on how to prevent and decrease these types of symptoms as they arise.

“Re-Experiencing: This is a repeated reliving of the event, and interferes with daily activity. This category includes flashbacks, frightening thoughts, recurrent memories or dreams, and physical reactions to situations that remind you of the event.” – RAINN

Many people when they are in a public atmosphere or are surrounded by a crowd of people can suffer from both anxiety or panic attacks but to those who have been sexually assaulted or have been raped, the chances are significantly higher. It is sometimes hard to see straight away when you suffer with these (PTSD symptoms) as a survivor but to properly heal and gain back control of your life the support from others is essential. Having support from an organization like RAINN and other survivors like James, can not only help with the healing process but they can also help provide an understanding on what you (as a survivor) are going through and that all the horrible feelings you may be feeling are normal but as times goes by it will get better.

“There are many programs and organizations available to assist survivors. You can find local centers in your phonebook, or go online to RAINN.org and filter down to a local center. Also, many local governments offer crisis services. When a survivor decides to come forward, even if it is DECADES after the abuse, they may be in crisis mode. When I first decided to confront my own experiences, it felt like it had just happened and I was extremely raw. It might as well have just happened. I was clearly in crisis mode and found some via the local county mental health services.” – James Landrith

When you are at the stage of talking to a professional therapist about your sexual assault or rape, you may feel overwhelmed as that is a normal feeling to have, but if you do not feel comfortable with the person you are talking with then find someone you do feel comfortable talk with. It is essential to always feel safe and comfortable when talking to a professional so it is okay to keep looking for the right person but whatever you do, do not give up on yourself because like what James and other survivors discovered, healing is an individual process and everyone heals in different ways with different people, on their own journey.

“One thing to remember is that a survivor owns their healing and they have the right to turn change therapists or counsellors if they do not feel comfortable or validated. Not every survivor/counsellor pairing is going to be successful. This does not make you a failure at healing; it just means you haven’t found the right partner. Keep trying!” – James Landrith

Please Note:  ”The Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline is a groundbreaking crisis support service for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one advice, support, and information to the worldwide DoD community. The service is anonymous, secure, and available 24/7 — providing victims with the help they need, anytime, anywhere.” – RAINN

Coming Up Next: Part Two of this article will be based on “Private Practice” the February 2, 2012 Storyline in relation to James Landrith’s interview we did with him on his own personal survivor story.

PAVE Moms Shattering The Silence

Talk, Share, Shatter the Silence…donate to PAVE and receive Moms Shattering The Silence, a multi-media tool kit for Moms to talk to kids about sexual abuse.

Tweet About It! #pavemoms

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!




The rate of sexual abuse is extremely high – 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys before the age of 18 will be sexually assaulted. But it is SO silent and so hard for parents to talk to their kids about it!!
PAVE has developed a multi-media package for moms launching on MOTHERS DAY 2012 called “PAVE Moms Shattering The Silence”

Donate $25 to PAVE and receive this valuable multi-media kit for you and for the moms you honor, cherish and care about!

Talk, Share, Shatter the Silence…donate  below to PAVE and receive Moms Shattering The Silence, a multi-media tool kit for Moms to talk to kids about sexual abuse.

PAVE Moms Shattering the Silence

WE NEED YOU!

Please Help Us Get Out the Word…Tweet about it #pavemoms

MARY AMONS – Bravo’s Real Housewives of DC

DR. CHERYL ARUTT - Psychologist & Trauma Expert SEEN ON CNN, HLN, truTV AND FOX NEWS

DR. JENN BERMAN – Host of VH1′s Couples Therapy and The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn on Sirius XM & Mother of Twins

DR. THEMA BRYANT-DAVIS – Licensed Psychologist, Poet, Dancer & Minister Seen on BET, PBS, Dr. Phil, ESSENCE Magazine

JENNER EVANS - Actress/model/comedian who has appeared on shows on E! and Lifetime

KIM GOLDMAN – Internationally Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Radio Host, Activist Seen on Oprah

DR. MICHELLE GOLLAND – National Relationship Expert and Psychologist Seen on CNN, Fox and Dr. Drew on CNN HLN

ANDREA METCALF – Best-selling Author Seen on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, Good Morning America and Oprah.com

ANGELICA PAGE - American Award Winning actress, Director, Producer and Screenwriter

MELISSA JUN ROWLEY – Award-Winning Journalist, On-Air Host, and Content Strategist

ROBIN SAX – Author & Legal Analyst seen on CNN, Fox, and The Today Show

LIZ SECCURO – Author, Speaker, Advocate seen on Dateline NBC, The Today Show, MSNBC

PAVE MEDIA MOMS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW