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.

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.

A Wonderful Resource for LGBTQ Survivors from WCSAP

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual violence in the LGBTQ community. The  fact is, the LGBTQ population faces the same forms of sexual violence that the rest of the population does. What’s more, sexual violence is often used as a hate crimes tactic to target the LGBTQ population. These communities also have a harder time reporting sexual violence due to increased barriers like homophobia and the fear of being outed. This is especially true of female identified same sex partners, who are often times not believed when reporting due to the common myth that women cannot be perpetrators of sexual violence.

Here are some helpful stats about sexual violence in the LGBTQ population. I found these statistics on RAINN’s Website (www.RAINN.org)  and from the wonderful publication that I describe below:

Stats:

  • Six percent of all anti-LGBT hate crimes are incidents of sexual assault or forcible rape.
  • More than half of gay men and lesbians report at least one incident of sexual coercion by a same-sex partner.
  • It is often thought that the larger, “butcher” partner will be the assailant in a same-sex assault; however, size or gender identity does not determine who the abusive partner is.
  • Bisexual, transgendered, lesbian, and gay people experience violence within their intimate relationships at about the same rates as heterosexuals (Waldner-Haugrud, 1997; AVP, 1992)
    • 30% of lesbians report having experienced sexual assault or rape by another woman (not necessarily an intimate partner) (Renzetti, 1992)
    • 15% of men living with a male intimate partner report being raped, assaulted or stalked by a male cohabitant (CDC, 1999)
  • LGBT individuals may experience abuse during their childhood. They may be abused by parents or others who are intolerant of homosexuality. They may be targeted for sexual abuse by adults that recognize their “difference.”
  • Over 11% of gay and lesbian youth report being physical attacked by family members (Hetrick-Martin Institute, 1988)
  • 42% of homeless youth, many of whom have run away from home to escape violence, self-­identify as gay/lesbian. (Victim Services, 1991) LGBT persons face additional challenges in healing from childhood sexual assault, due to myths that childhood sexual assault may have “caused” them to be gay.
  • A study of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults showed that 41% reported being a victim of a hate crime after the age of 16. (Herek, 1999) Sexual violence is more common among LGBT hate crimes, assailants may use rape to “punish” victims for what they view as their sexual transgressions.

Because of the particular barriers that the LGBTQ community faces when reporting or talking about their assault, the transition to survivorhood can be even more difficult. It is important that as a community we recognize this difficulty and provide education and resources for LGBTQ survivors and allies to help the healing process. While conducting research for some PAVE educational materials I stumbled upon this wonderful resource, Setting The Stage: Strategies for Supporting LGBTIQ survivors. that was published by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs that does just that! I encourage you as an individual, advocate, counselor, friend, survivor, social service agency, etc to read through this wonderful publication.

You can download a PDF of the WCSAP’s Setting The Stage: Strategies for Supporting LGBTIQ Survivors by clicking here. Please use this resources to support hte LGBTQ survivors in your life!

PAVE Founder Angela Rose, Sexual Assault Survivor, on A&E’s Bio Channel “I Survived” & Other National Media

Angela on I Survived

Angela Rose, PAVE Founder is a survivor…and thriver. At the age of 17, Angela was abducted at knife point outside a suburban Chicago shopping mall. She was assaulted by a repeat sex-offender on parole for murder-and was eventually released by her attacker. Angela shares her story through her nonprofit PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment), across college campuses and on national media including Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN, A&E Bio Channel’s television show I Survived.

FOLLOW ANGELA ON TWITTER: AngelaRosePAVE

Important note: Although Angela’s story was a stranger assault, overwhelmingly sexual assault is committed by someone we know and trust. PAVE works to shatter the silence and prevent ALL sexual violence.


In a stripped-down, simple interview style, I Survived… allows survivors to explain, in their own words, how they overcame unbelievable circumstances-offering insight into what got them through the experience that changed their lives forever.

 

Tune in for an personal account of her experiences and how she is now helping other victims get their voice back. CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to see Angela Rose on THE LEAD on CNN HLN – Aug 2013

Sexual assault survivor Angela Rose says any time you can shatter the silence about what happened, you reclaim power.

CLICK HERE to see Dr. Drew on CNN Headline News

CLICK HERE to Listen to PAVE Founder Angela Rose on the Geraldo Rivera Radio Show talking about the Castro case – August 2013

CLICK HERE to see “BREAKTHROUGH WOMEN” segment about Angela Rose

CLICK HERE to see Angela Rose on ABC 7 news Chicago.

CLICK HERE to watch the RACE FOR CHANGE on ABC news. April 2013

CLICK HERE to watch PAVE Founder Angela Rose on FOX’s Mike Huckabee Show with celebrity co-host Bethenny Frankel.

CLICK HERE for more info on Angela Rose on Good Day LA.

CLICK HERE to see Angela Rose on Sacramento & Co Morning Show.

CLICK HERE to see Angela Rose on a news broadcast in the Bahamas.

FOLLOW ANGELA ON TWITTER: AngelaRosePAVE

FREE resources for Sexual Assault Awareness month:

http://www.pavingtheway.net/wordpress/saam

 

Interested in a Fabulous Volunteer Opportunity? Join PAVE’s Board of Directors!

Pave logo with sloganPAVE  is looking for committed, energetic members who want to serve on our Board of Directors. It is an excellent chance for experienced, dedicated individuals to be part of shaping the future of our organization.

Service on our Board of Directors offers a tremendous opportunity to help mold our programs and strategies, the impact of which will be felt for many years.  Both experienced and first time board members are welcome. While we would certainly welcome individuals with great connections and/or professional skills, a PASSION for sexual and dating violence prevention is absolutely critical. Previous experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, violence prevention or intervention or is highly desired.

If you are interested in becoming a PAVE BOD member, please submit a letter of introduction and your resume to amanda@ShatteringTheSilence.org.

A PAVE Board Member:

  1. Demonstrates an interest in and personal commitment to PAVE’s vision, mission and values.
  2. Exercises duty of loyalty and due care in the management of PAVE’s fiscal affairs.
  3. Serves as an ambassador, building relationships with potential supporters and donors in the community.
  4. Attends all bi-monthly board meetings, board committee meetings, and required special events.
  5. Makes a personal financial contribution at a level that is meaningful to them.
  6. Actively participates in one or more fundraising activities.
  7. Acts in the best interests of the organization, and excuses themselves from discussions and votes where they have a conflict of interest.
  8. Stays informed about what’s going on in the organization. They will ask questions and request information. They will participate in and take responsibility for making decisions on issues, policies and other board matters, especially financial matters.
  9. Works in good faith and communicate openly and honestly with staff and other board members as partners towards achievement of our goals.
  10. Maintains roles and responsibilities with a high level of accountability and intentionality.
  11. Makes a commitment to serve as a PAVE Board Member for a minimum of two years.
  12. Adheres to and upholds the values of feminism and anti violence.
  13. Adheres to the responsibilities for the board of directors as required by the Illinois Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 (805 ILCS 105 – attached).
  14. Insures that PAVE functions in compliance with all relevant state and federal laws.

 

Mandatory Reporting Challenges on a College Campus

The other day, over lunch, prompted by an in inevitable conversation about the recent tragedy at Penn State, a colleague lamented their own experiences as a mandatory reporter of sexual assault. The discussion began as we were flushing out possible scenarios with the Penn State case, hoping that perhaps the lack of reporting on behalf of Coach Paterno et al was a lapse of administrative training rather than pure moral abomination. My colleague expressed some sympathies with those encountered by reports of sexual violence and that a similar encounter had left them questioning the efficacy of the current mandatory reporting protocol.

My colleague works at a small liberal arts college in a position that manages student workers. The college requires that all student employees take an hour-long online sexual harassment training, which they administer twice a year. My colleague emailed a notice to their student staff that each of them would have to take this training. In response to the email, a student requested that they be exempt from the training because they had recently experienced a sexual assault and also had a major assignment due the day after the training and did not want to be “re-triggered and stressed out by having to spend an hour thinking about sexual violence.” The student requested anonymity and mentioned that she intentionally did not report the crime to the Student Judicial Board (my colleague made assumption that assault must have been committed by another student because Judicial Board would have been standard course of action).

After getting this information, my colleague was unsure of what the necessary protocol was for reporting. They know they are a mandatory reporter, but were not sure that this fell under the realm of things necessary to report, especially since anonymity was requested and the student was not seeking help. The information they received regarding the assault was extremely limited and the disclosure of the event was not intentional, but rather reactionary – prompted not out of a request for help, but rather to avoid being re-triggered. It is important to note here, that although my colleague is a mandatory reporter, they have had no training on mandatory reporting from the institution they are currently working for. Fortunately they worked in Student Life for another higher education institution where they did receive some training, namely to report up.

My colleague took two steps. She reported the incident to her direct superior and asked if further action was necessary. They said no, no action was necessary because the student asked to remain anonymous. At the same time, however, the staff member e-mailed the schools HR department to see if the student’s request for a training exemption could be honored. My colleague explained the situation to HR in full, however omitting the students identifying details. The HR director responded to her email almost immediately saying that they could definitely accommodate the student and telling my colleague that they needed to report the assault if they had not already done so. My colleague called the HR director at this time and let them know the opposing information they had received from their immediate superior. The HR director admitted that they were, in fact, not positive that they needed to report and suggested they contact the Assistant Dean of Students to give the final decision. After a meeting where the student’s anonymity remained intact, the decision was reached that standard mandatory reporting protocol must take place, and that my colleague should file a paper report and send it up the chain of command.

This would mean that the students anonymity would no longer be intact as a paper report (which requires a name) would have to be filtered through six additional people before it eventually would get back to the Assistant Dean Of Students (who they had just met with and was already briefed on the incident). This was the first time my colleague found out that they would have to file an actual paper report, previously they thought a simple verbal exchange was all that was required. Additionally, they found the report rather confusing and somewhat futile. The definitive categories on the report were misleading and seemingly redundant. Also, the only information my colleague had was limited which meant that the bulk of the report remained blank.

After the report was filed and sent up the chain of command, my colleague was urged to reach out to the student, give her a packet of information on resources and encourage her to report and seek support. My colleague was asked to get the student to fill out a threat assessment with campus security even if she did not want to report in an effort to protect other students. The packet of information and resources seemed particularly helpful and full of information my colleague wished they had known previously so that they could have given the student more helpful information when she first confided in them.

The student didn’t respond to the staff member for several days, even though my colleague had seen her at work and on campus a few times since sending the follow-up email and information. The student responded by thanking them for their concern but said she was doing fine and did not address answering the threat assessment or reporting. My colleague, the staff member, sent the student response back to campus safety and the dean’s office. To date, that is where the case has ended. This case is about a month old, and the above proceedings took place over the course of 8 days from the student confiding in my colleague to her response going to campus safety.

This incident left a very sour taste in my colleague’s mouth, who highlighted several challenges and take homes to reporting on their campus:

-          Staff felt really bad about having to “pressure” the student to report.

-          Staff was unsure of how much to encourage the student to report and did not appreciate higher up administrators asking them to pressure the student as they did want to disrespect the student by pushing her to do something she was uncomfortable with.

-          Staff did not want to breach the confidentiality of the student but wanted to provide the best support possible.

-          Staff had lack of training. Even though they are a mandatory reporter, they only received an hour long on-line sexual harassment training but never had a Cleary reporting training or any specific training about mandatory reporting with student employees or about someone who approaches you but is not trying to report.

-          Staff found the paper Cleary Report misleading and misrepresentative.

-          Staff learned that only health and counseling professionals do not have to report

-          Staff disappointed that higher up staff and supervisors were also unclear about the reporting process and could not provide proper guidance.

-          Staff wanted to be able to report without sharing the students’ name

In the end this incident enlightened my colleague’s superiors and HR administrators to the fact that their staff lacked sufficient training and that changes need to be made with the overall reporting system. However, the student victim did not receive the anonymity she requested, which might have felt like a violation to her. This incident is by no means a singular occurrence.  This and similar situations have been seen time and time again at universities across the country. Higher education staff members are under-equipped to handle sexual violence on their campuses. This is a HUGE problem. College women experience one of the highest risks of sexual violence of any demographic. One in four college women will be assaulted during their time. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 20.4 million students are enrolled in US colleges. If we give a rough estimate that half of these students are female (and this is generous because enrollment tips more heavily towards the female persuasion) then this means that 2.55 million women will be assaulted during their time in college. This is an epidemic and we need to treat it as such. Who is going to be there to support these two and a half million women?

The egregious handling of the Penn State sexual assaults by all parties, although very different from most sexual assaults that happen on our nations campuses, has started conversations about our role in reporting and intervening from the white house to casual luncheons between friends. We need to continue this conversation and keep highlighting the epidemic of sexual violence in our society. Bottom line: Our higher education administrators need training and they need it now. A national effort needs to be made. We need to address this issue from both sides. We need more prevention work on our campuses and we need to encourage our students to demand these types of services on their campuses.

 

Presenting PAVE and Security on Campus’ Mobile Application to Shatter the Silence!

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PAVE's Mobile Application, coming soon

The mission of PAVE and Security on Campus’ Shatter the Silence! mobile application is to not only Shatter the Silence! that shrouds survivors of sexual and dating violence, but also to prevent this violence from occurring by quipping users with knowledge, skills and services through interactive multimedia tools. PAVE and SOC have just submitted this mobile application into Vice President Joe Biden’s Apps Against Abuse Challenge. Please note that this is just the prototype. Most of the content has not yet been added, but the description below outlines what the finished product will look like.

Click here to preview PAVE and SOC’s mobile application to Shatter the Silence!

PAVE is a national nonprofit that works to shatter the silence of sexual violence. With over 35 chapters and affiliates, PAVE’s work has been featured on CNN, the Today Show and in TIME. For this mobile application titled “Shatter the Silence”,  PAVE has partnered with Security on Campus, which is  a leading national nonprofit geared to the prevention of college and university campus crime, and crime victim assistance.  PAVE and Security on Campus came together for the September 2011 “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” Campaign, which focused on victim empowerment, prevention, bystander intervention, and providing tangible tools for both men and women on over 30 college campuses to work together to create a safer campus, free from sexual and dating violence.
PAVE and SOC’s mobile application to Shatter the Silence of Sexual and Dating Violence, is multifunctional. The application allows us to provide not only emergency assistance, but also a complete learning center to educate users about the issues involved in sexual and dating violence. It also connects users to PAVE and SOC’s websites for up to date news feed and featured articles about the issues. Additionally there is a college campus specific information and resource hub where users can read, listen to and watch survivor testimonies to learn how others recover from the trauma of violence. This module also gives users the chance to upload and share their own experiences with violence.

Emergency

Specifically, Shatter The Silence features a “one click” approach to emergency services, where people experiencing a threatening situation can access through the click of a button 911 services, the RAINN Hotline to get immediate support from trained violence intervention specialists who can also connect them to local advocate services, the National Domestic Violence Hotline,  and a help feature that sends a pre-programmed message with your time and location to pre-designated contacts. Along these same lines, PAVE and SOC have partnered with Glympse to incorporate geolocation functionality so users can “Share their Where” in potentially dangerous situations with trusted friends and family.

It is important to note that all of the call features on the application can be accessed with TTY so that any hearing impaired users will be able to access support services.

Learning Center

In addition to emergency services, the application provides a learning center to educate users about different aspects of sexual and dating violence. First it encourages users to review the myths, facts and statistics to help them realize how many people are effected by sexual violence. Then it provides a section on how to be prepared, to know your risks and threats and how to protect yourself against them. The Be Prepared section incorporates the Glympse functionality and includes information about alcohol related sexual violence.

Next the learn section provides a check list for survivors about what they should to after an assault,  how they should seek help, and a discussion of what it looks like to report an incident of sexual violence. This check list will be duplicated in the emergency section, and also includes links to the RAINN hot line.

Another important aspect of the learning center teaches users how to support a survivor if one should disclose to them. It is proven that how the first person a survivor discloses to reacts will greatly affect their healing process. This module of the learning center equips users with skills to help users provide a safe space for survivors. The module includes a straightforward video PSA that PAVE created for America’s Most Wanted online “Safety Center.”

Additionally, the Learning Center uses interactive quizzes and multi-media educational tools to teach users how to engage in bystander intervention and how alcohol and drugs exacerbate the prevalence of sexual and dating violence. The interactive quizzes are a teaching tool to help users assess how much they know about the issue of sexual and dating violence and also ascertain whether or not they have been assaulted, because often times a victim has a hard time understanding what has happened to them. Additionally there is a quiz through which to evaluate the health of your own dating relationship.

The learning center uses audio, video and text to disseminate the information so that all kids of learners and users will be able to get the most information as possible.
Also, Given the gravity of the information provided in the Shatter The Silence application, there will be  an icon at the top right of every page of the application to disguise the screen and protect the users autonomy when in public.

Shatter the Silence: Survivor Testimony and Sharing Center

Part of PAVE’s mission is to encourage survivors of sexual and dating violence to speak up and speak out about their assaults. Sharing their stories not only unites and empowers survivors everywhere to know that they are not alone, but it also helps the individuals healing process by giving them a voice to take charge and help prevent violence from happening to others. The Survivor Testimony section includes written, audio and video testimony from individuals throughout the country that have a story to tell. PAVE Founder Angela Rose even shares her own story here. Testimony is not just in the form of story sharing. Survivors often share poetry, music, art and video they have created as an outlet for dealing with their traumatic experiences. There is also an opportunity to listen to the inspiring prose of renowned slam poet Steve Connell and the music of award winning actress Angelica Page, who have both shared their voice through the art of sound and word.

The Survivor Testimony module is interactive. Not only can users watch, read and listen to other’s testimonies, they can share their own story but uploading an audio, written or video testimony. This section also offers a community forum through the blogfrog.com that allows users to discuss the testimonies or any issues of sexual violence in an open forum. The forum will be moderated by PAVE and SOC so as to prevent any malicious or triggering content.

PAVE Today

The PAVE Today module connects users to PAVE’s interactive up to date website. The module connects to PAVE’s social media streams from Twitter and Facebook so users have the opportunity to get action alerts for things like signing a petition or getting involved in arts based poster or post card campaign. They also get PAVE’s newsfeed which boasts several articles a week discussing current events in the sexual violence prevention world, such as new techniques, breakthroughs, and legal battles being faced by survivors. Access to the website allows users to access even more content for learning how to prevent sexual and dating violence.

Security on Campus

The Security on Campus module similarly connects users to SOC’s website. However, it also provides college aged students with information about their rights on campus. Sexual and dating violence is even more prevalent on college campuses. This module starts the discussion about what that is and provides specified preventative information for tailored to the college demographic.

Get Involved

The last module the Shatter the Silence mobile application is the Get Involved section (this section has not as of the date of submission been built into the prototype). The Get Involved module lets users know how they can teach others how to prevent sexual violence. This section recapitulates other sections, like the sharing and uploading their own testimony and getting involved in the blogfrog community forum, but also teaches college students how to start a sexual and dating violence prevention student organization on their campus and teaches users how to do interactive arts based awareness campaigns in their communities.

 

Finally the Shatter the Silence application will be continually updated with the most up to date, professionally vetted information and prevention techniques. As social media functionality expands, so will the app. Both PAVE and SOC are committed to popularizing the app so it reaches as many potential users as possible.  Both PAVE and SOC have regular speaking engagements on college campuses that reach as many as 2000 students in a single meeting. Additionally we plan to network through our chapters and affiliate organizations, at our many conference appearances, our websites and social media outlets. This easy to use, interactive application will do wonders to educate Americans, especially those that are in the target, college aged, population, to prevent sexual and dating violence from occurring in their own lives and the lives of others. Please vote for PAVE and Security on Campus’ mobile application to Shatter the Silence of sexual and dating violence!

 

Introducing “My Stories”: Sharing Your Story to Shatter the Silence!

Shatter the Silence Being a victim of sexual or dating violence can be extremely isolating. We live in a culture where we are taught to suffer in silence. Abuse is simply not talked about. Even though 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will become a victim of sexual violence over the course of their lifetime, the silence survivors are beholden to makes this statistic shocking to those who hear it for the first time. PAVE’s mission is to shatter this silence and to avail to the world how prevalent sexual and dating violence is in our culture. This is the only way we are going to get policy makers from elementary schools to our congressional representatives to make the institutional changes that will help lead to societal progress.

To Shatter the Silence PAVE emphasizes sharing your story of how you personally have been effected my sexual and dating violence during your lifetime. Everywhere we go, when we teach a class of peer educators, or talk about consent with fraternity men, we share our stories to break down the isolation that survivors often feel. Sharing our stories, lets others who have not found their voice realize that they are not alone.

Time and time again when PAVE is out there, sharing our story and teaching others to share, we are approached by brave men and women (who have been shrouded in silence and shame, sometimes for years) who choose to share their stories with us for the first time. This post marks the first of what is to be many stories from these remarkable women and men we encounter.

My Story: Megan – college student

“I dated this guy for over four years. Thought I would marry him high school sweetheart style. From what I remember in high school, we had a good healthy relationship, had fun and were happy. We decided to stay together in college but go to separate schools. And that’s where we took a turn for the worse. I convinced myself that I was happy, I convinced everyone that I was happy. But in reality we fought every night late into the night. He was jealous of me hanging out with friends and family. He had to make sure I texted him 24/7. I wasn’t allowed to party without him (so never). I wasn’t allowed to talk to other men. And each time I rationalized that it was just because he loved me and cared about me and wanted me to be safe. He had cheated on me, lied to me, forced me to have sex when I did not want to and each time told me that if I broke up with him it would ruin his life, and each time he said he wouldn’t do it again and I believed him. I tried so hard to be perfect, I thought I did everything a good girlfriend should, everyone thought we had the perfect relationship, and I wanted more than anything to keep it that way. Enough so that I just ignored the warning signs.
My friends and my family tried hard to tell me, show me, point out the flaws…but I refused to acknowledge them, my relationship was perfect, that was my mask. My mother was the most worried. She told me that when I was home with just the family I was myself, the bubbly, happy, outgoing Megan she knew and loved, but when he was over I became a shell, I did not act myself because he would disprove of my silliness and outgoing tendencies. Then sophomore year rolled around. We were fighting worse, I has suspicion I was being cheated on again. I was contemplating that maybe we should break up or take a break, but I knew I would probably never go through with it. Then I went to this presentation, PAVE. As I sat there listening, my head started turning, thinking, comparing. Then the slides with the healthy and unhealthy relationship traits came on the screen. I noticed that not one thing on the healthy relationship side I had. We did not trust one another, I wasn’t really happy, there wasn’t much affection, the list went on. I was never physically abused but the emotional toll was worse. It finally clicked that what I was living in was not something to be proud of or to stay in. It still took me a month or so to finally find the courage to break up with him. He was brutal during it. Called me horrid names, said I was killing him, ruining his life, etc. I finally saw the true total person I had been dating, the horrible abusive angry side finally flowed all out instead of just dripping into me like an IV.
It still took another month for me to finally rid of him. To get him to stop texting and facebooking me. The emotional tolls still followed me though. For the healing I have my friends and my now boyfriend…best friend…to thank. They taught me to be happy. To be myself, and to love myself and to be loved by others because I was myself. The guy I am dating now has helped me overcome the constant need to please, the need to be perfect, the need to give myself even when I don’t want to. One of the first times he wanted to have sex, he asked if I wanted it, I never said no, I did not know how to say no, but he must have seen the look in my eyes, and immediately said “you know, not tonight, only when you want it.” I looked at him and cried tears of happiness; someone had heard me without me using my voice which I still could not find at that point. He and my friends helped me find my voice again, shatter my silence, and reacquaint me with what someone in a healthy relationship felt and had entitlement to. It has been a long road, with lots of bumps along the way, but I thank my lucky stars everyday for the friends I have and the love they have given me.”

Do you have a story to share? If so, please e-mail info@ShatteringTheSilence.org with the subject line “My Story.”