Published on Apr 29, 2014
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Daniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers and Steve Carell on putting an end to sexual assault. http://www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many
Laura Dunn, Executive Director & Founder of SurvJustice, a PAVE Partner
She was recently seen on MSNBC – click here.
SERVICES of SurvJustice:
SURVIVOR ASSISTANCE: CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINTS
ACTIVIST EMPOWERMENT: LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS, MEDIA RESPONSE, GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGNS
INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT: EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Kindly note, these calls will be off-the-record, and not intended for press purposes.
The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault is pleased to announce that they will be holding a series of virtual, public listening sessions in February. The Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women, in partnership with the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, will be hosting these sessions, and their colleagues from the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the Agencies serving on the Task Force will also be participating. We want you to join us!
Register for a listening session – click here.
NOTE: PAVE is collecting comments to submit to the TaskForce – please send to us by February 24, 2014 – email to: Campus@PavingTheWay.net
The Task Force is looking for concrete and creative ideas about how schools can prevent sexual assault, and how they can better respond when it happens – both in terms of supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable.
February 12, 3:00-4:00 pm EST - Students and Survivors
February 13, 4:00-5:00 pm EST - Researchers and National Experts
February 14, 4:00-5:00 pm EST – Victim Advocates, Rape Crisis Center Staff, Victim Service Providers, including Campus-based and Community Programs
February 18, 2:00-3:00 pm EST – University, College, and Community College Administrators and Leaders
February 18, 4:00-5:00 pm EST – Alumni, Parents, and Other Campus Stakeholders
February 19, 3:00-4:00 pm EST – Civil Liberties
February 20, 7:00-8:00 pm EST – Students and Survivors
February 25, 5:00-6:00 pm EST – Students and Survivors
February 26, 3:00-4:00 pm EST - Open Forum
The listening sessions are designed to allow as many people as possible to provide input. They won’t be answering questions, but instead will be listening to you. If you have questions, they will gather them for a future response.
They have three different Students and Survivors listening sessions, spread over three weeks, to accommodate the demand within the webinar capacity. If you’re not a student or survivor, please don’t join this session – you might unintentionally block a student or survivor from participating. If you are a student or survivor, they would appreciate you joining one of these three sessions.
Listening sessions will use the Adobe Connect webinar service, which allows participants to queue up to make verbal comments. Participants can also type comments in a chat box. We expect a large number of participants, so please plan to keep your remarks brief – about 3 minutes – so more people can have a turn to speak.
Streaming ASL interpretation is available upon request. When you register for your choice of listening session, just select the ASL box.
Kindly note, these calls will be off-the-record, and not intended for press purposes.
Please keep an eye on OVW’s website, www.ovw.usdoj.gov, in the coming weeks for any updates. Don’t forget to register for the listening sessions athttps://ta2ta.org/events/webinars/white-house-listening-sessions.html.
PAVE is so grateful for a strong focus on these crucial issues!
Please Support PAVE’s Mission!
Earlier this year, PAVE convened the National Campus Sexual Assault Summit at Georgetown Law School – which was broadcast live to over 300 colleges. We also had a surprise special guest from the White House speak at this event! A key part of the solution lies in engaging and educating men and women in bystander intervention.
Our work with college campuses is crucial. According to the US Department of Justice, 1 in 4 women in college will be sexually assaulted during her time at university.
Moreover, 9 out of 10 women in college who are raped don’t report the crime.
We need your help today to continue our important work and what we need most critically is your financial support. We are calling potential supporters for our holiday fund drive and I hope you can help us.
The MONEY you DONATE will go toward:
· Implementing our new technology to deliver training to schools nationwide AND
· Expanding our PAVE campus chapters. The University of Wisconsin at Madison was our first chapter, begun personally by our founder, Angela Rose. Today, students can earn credit through their School of Social Work as they become peer educators!
PAVE’s work has been featured on CNN, Oprah Winfrey Network, BIO Channel and many more!
Please help us in our goal to promote awareness and empower the victims of sexual violence.
Or checks can be made out to PAVE and mailed to:
233 S Wacker Dr, 84th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
CLICK HERE for our Press Kit!
Thanks again for your consideration! Happy New Year!
PS, Here are some recent Chicago media links about our work…..
ABC 7 news Chicago: http://bit.ly/IVLnK1
Two years ago (Aug. 2011), I reported my former stepfather to the police for sexually abusing me when I was a young child. He was in my life for 7 years, beginning when I was 10 months old. He took on the role of father and I had no other safe father. I loved him and was devastated by the abuse and mental/emotional manipulation. I kept it secret for a long time. But as I began to feel more secure in my life as a young adult I slowly began telling people, working toward emotional healing over the last 13 years. It was a long time before I felt ready to go to the police, but as it turns out, the statute of limitations had not yet expired for most of the abuse.
I testified at the Grand Jury Hearing on September 16th, and it was finished with a result on September 25th.
The jury’s final deliberations concluded with a vote that did not have enough positive votes to result in my former stepfather being indicted. He is not about to be arrested, the court is not preparing for a trial. This path toward prosecution of his crimes came to an abrupt end before it could really begin. And I do not know what reasoning led them to this decision, which was so surprising to everyone involved.
The Grand Jury members are just a regular group of citizens like any other jury. When I testified at the Grand Jury hearing I was crying and my whole body was shaking, so much that I had to put my hand onto my shoulder to try and stop it because my muscles hurt from shaking like that. My testimony made me re-experience so many painful emotions that normally I keep tucked out of sight so that I can just function in the world.
Jury members were crying, and gasping in shock and horror and making verbal exclamations about how horrendous the things he did were. I described the sexual abuse from age 3 (when I can first remember) to almost age 8 as well as all the details of the sadistic ways he treated me. Things that, as horrible as they were, I grew up thinking it was just no big deal or it was my fault. I believed that all the shame of sexual abuse was my shame.
He was going to be charged with rape of a child from age 5 to 7.5 (which he did in many many horrendous ways under the laws that cover it and he could have killed me or so it seemed in my experience). My very detailed memory, while hard to live with personally, did provide a clear and convincing account of what took place. There was never an issue with my credibility, it was clear that they believed me. Still for some reason, enough of the jury members made the decision that my testimony wasn’t enough, the presentation of the prosecutor wasn’t enough, and they would let my abuser go free, denying me this chance to have him publicly face the charges against him.
During the initial investigation the police called my former stepfather up on the phone. They just said they wanted to ask him questions about a report of sexual assault in connection to the address that we had lived at. Without asking any questions about who made the report, who was being accused, or any question at all about the basic facts of what this was about, he just said that he was not going to speak, and that he was going to get a lawyer. Apparently he already knew what he was guilty of and what he needed to get a lawyer for.
On one occasion in the recent past, one of my family members happened upon him in a public place and confronted him about the abuse, he just laughed and smirked. At first he even pretended to not even recall if I existed. According to a lawyer friend of mine, this kind of irrational pretense of not knowing the victim, to the extent of feigning some kind of impossible temporary amnesia, is for some reason the first reaction of most guilty people who become unexpectedly questioned about an abuse allegation.
The arrogant and sadistic nature of his personality makes it very likely that he will continue his abusive pattern; his fear of getting caught will be redirected into pressure on his victims to keep the secrets. But I have learned in many ways, by many people in my life, that the truth inside us is always stronger than the lies that oppress us. We are stronger than we know.
I remember the time many years after he left us, my mother got a phone call from his new wife asking for help and advice about what to do because he was beating her during her third pregnancy, and telling her it was her fault. I don’t really know how she made it through that, and it saddens me to imagine any of it. I hope that she and her children can know their own strength and not be trapped by fear or shame.
When I asked the police to go forward with the investigation I did so knowing that I would have been able to safely and productively face him as an adult and confront him within the protection of a court of law, in the way that was impossible when I was a child. I felt I needed to do that. I wish I could.
But, I did everything that I could. I reported him to the police and that was extremely difficult and I hung in there for two years (through many difficult things in preparation for the trial), and I made it all the way to testifying at the Grand Jury. Many cases never get that far. The police and prosecutors did their job and they have been extremely kind, caring and supportive. I am very thankful to them for what they did and for taking the case as far as they did. They told me that because I am so articulate and self-reflective about what I have been through that they will be able to understand all sex abuse survivors even better now. They told me that the man who abused me is the most dangerous type of sexual predator, the way he infiltrated my life and became like a stepfather to me. The love that I felt for him prior to the abuse caused me a lifetime of conflicted feelings between how I really felt about the horrendous nature of the abuse and thinking that I needed to protect him regardless. For so long I blamed myself. They told me that my actions show how I will always protect my own children by standing up against this.
I am glad that I did this. I did the right thing and I did what I could. The police are keeping their eye on him now.
I’m not going to be afraid to speak about it anymore. I faced my biggest fear. When I first called the police 2 years ago I couldn’t even say his name without shaking rapidly and almost throwing up. But, I ended up two years later testifying at the Grand Jury hearing and that is amazing progress that reflects the internal transformation I had surrounding this. Letting go of my fear and no longer allowing him to continue controlling me on an internal level.
At this point I don’t know whether or not he will ever be brought to justice for the crimes he committed, and that loss of a path forward is very disheartening. Although there is still hope that somehow someone else will come forward and a new case can be brought against him.
Understanding the nature of sexual abuse and the path toward healing is something that is emotional to its core, and I feel that expressing myself through the medium of dance is something that can address aspects of this topic that is otherwise hard to get at just by talking. To see what I mean, here is a video of a dance that I choreographed and performed about my experience and healing process.
Sign up to get PAVE’s Justice for Daisy Virtual Toolkit for tangible tips on prevention and awareness!
Written by: Lori B.
I was reading the articles that I have posted for PAVE’S blog and noticed a trend. I have been reporting on incidents that take place and the effects that occur due to these acts of malice. However, while reading through them I noticed a trend among the victims. Something that as humans we all have and we should all be very proud of; that is strength and courage. As humans we are both blessed and cursed with an uncanny amount of resilience and the ability to overcome adversity. Though these victims have endured some of the most horrific experiences that most of us can’t even fathom in our worst nightmares; they are standing strong today. Standing up for those that are still fighting this fight!
Not only do these victims fight for what is right and the ability to get back to having as normal of a life as possible, they also have to deal with the media and the public pointing fingers in all the wrong directions. Every time I hear someone say, “Well look at the way she’s dressed, she’s just asking for it!” It makes me cringe. That is the problem with society in a nutshell. The stereotyping and the unjust ability to blame the innocent for someone else’s actions. As a parent I stress to my children that you can’t blame anyone else for your actions or your reactions and that is something we must all remember.
Throughout history the woman’s body has been portrayed as a beautiful masterpiece and over time it has become looked upon as more of an object and that is something that needs to be addressed.
We are told that there is strength in numbers… to never walk alone, walk in pairs at night and so on. This is not only true in the physical sense it is true in the emotional sense as well. There is strength in numbers, there is more strength than one could ever know they possessed when they have a strong support system. Humans, just like most animals were not meant to travel alone, we were meant to travel in groups of our own kind. Those that we have things in common with, those that need us, those that we need and those that can help us and teach us things.
We are all stronger than we know and with support systems like PAVE out there, together we can get through it! This is a time for reflection and to realize that no matter what you are here today and you are stronger than you know.
Written by: Ashten Meadows