PAVE My Stories: Janet A

My Story

My story started in 1989 and ended October 17th 2011 when my ex-husband suffered a stroke and my stepson and I went to his house to find Power of Attorney.  What we found were videos that he had made throughout our marriage where he had secretly drugged and Raped me repeatedly throughout the 4 years I lived with him.  He drugged and Raped me while I was pregnant and while I breastfed my handicapped daughter. Even though I have found no current videos I am sure he has been raping me throughout the past 16 yrs.  He was obsessed with me,  he had easy access to me using my daughters handicap to stay in control.
I can write at this time because I’m not sure what the law is deciding to do. I’m trying to get charges against him in this state with the other women and another for me. One of the other states has a statue of limitations even though I didn’t know at the time I was being drugged and raped until 2011.
I can tell you that the rapes of me on the videos occurred in 2 different states and the videos also included another women in a third state.  I now live in the third state and have been pretty much dismissed.  I will tell you the police department doesn’t care much for me and wish that I would just go away.  When I gave them the tapes and told them what I found they didn’t even bother to look at them.  I thought at the time that they would at least go to his house and see if they could find any other evidence but they didn’t.  My ex’s sister was coming in from out of state and was staying at his house.  I knew that if she found any incriminating evidence she would get rid of it.  I went back and found more videos, ropes, handcuffs, police badges, a vaginal spectrum, containers of pubic hairs, and, guns.
When I spoke to the detective he told me that these things take time they have training and court to attend to and besides I should be comforted to know that he (my ex) was in the hospital with a stroke and can’t do anything and besides it wasn’t in their jurisdiction.  He was more concerned of the fact that I was cussing at him wondering what the hell they were doing.  I asked him about the other women and he stated they hadn’t seen the other women.  That scared me to death. I thought they had gotten rid of the videos! I only had the one video that was proof positive that I was not his only victim!  I contacted the local police in each of the other states and they were concerned.  I’m not sure how sane I would be at this point without them!
The police here have allowed his son and sister full access to the house and I’m sure they have gotten rid of anything they may have found if anything.  After this discovery I found that there were people who knew what he had been doing and his son told me that his dad made him rape a young girl in this fashion when he was 8 or 9 and that he thought that was how you got girls until he met his wife when he was 29. Hum.  Apparently from what I know he had been drugging and raping women for over 40 years.  The last 10 years he worked as a maintenance man at the local college dorms and had the master key to the dorms.  I remember him always bragging how the young girls liked him because he would help them when they partied too much or had boyfriend issues.  I believe that is another reason the local police have done little if any investigation.
I sent a 2 page email to 2 congressmen, 2 senators, and the governor.  I got a letter response from one senator who forwarded my email to the mayor and told if I need anything else to please write. I got another response back from one congressman just to see if the police have done anything yet. I also sent an email to the FBI. Haven’t heard anything, which I’m not surprised. I called the local FBI and they told me they don’t get involved until they hear from the locals.
I am hanging on each day trying not to let my feeling and thoughts get the best of me.  I don’t know what else to do.  I understand it may never go to court I just want them to at least charge him for his crimes.  His son has already told him what we had found so you know there is no way he is ever going to act sane again.  He is not that stupid.  His speech is affected with the stroke and the right side of his body.  He has been showing signs of improvement and his vitals are good.
I need help but I don’t know what. I took 30 days FMLA but spent them all going crazy trying to get someone to listen to me or at least pretend to be do something. I am back at work and walking around pretending that I’m normal and have everything under control.
I’m putting my house up for sale and want to have it ready by March. I need to get the hell out of here. I’m trying to stay busy with that, work and getting my daughter hooked up to outside activities to stay somewhat productive.  I’m even attempting to become a non-smoker. I have moments when I truly understand why people lose their minds and go shooting everything in site and I also understand how a 2 year old feels when they’ve reached their point of frustration when they fall in the middle of the floor and slam their feet and arms and scream at the top of their lungs. It’s not a good feeling!
I have to sit and wonder how many other women are being drugged and Raped and not knowing.  How many are in therapy wondering what the hell is wrong with them. I’m beginning to feel as if it’s acceptable behavior to Rape as long as the victim doesn’t know they are being Raped.
If anybody has any ideas at what I can or need to do, please tell me. My friends are a godsend but just as frustrated as I am in this process.
Just about every question I had the past 22 years was answered in one day.
Thank you for listening to my story,
Janet A.

From SheWrites: 10 Reasons Not to Discuss Child Sexual Abuse in 2012

Please view original post here: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/10-reasons-not-to-discuss-child-sexual-abuse-in-2012

10 Reasons Not to Discuss Child Sexual Abuse in 2012

I have heard them all.  I have heard all the reasons why parents don’t discuss child sexual abuse prevention with their children.  I have heard them so often that I can recite them by heart.  As the new year approaches, I decided it would be a good idea to memorialize the top 10 reasons for not discussing the subject.  I invite you to add any that may have been omitted.

  1. Children are seldom victims of sexual abuse. Actually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in the United States, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused by the time they are 18.  Consider those numbers for a moment.  They are shocking and devastating.  Those figures alone should motivate parents to seek out prevention strategies.
  2. This kind of thing doesn’t happen where we live.  Actually, child sexual abuse has no socio-economic boundaries.  It doesn’t care if you are black or white, rich or poor or what religion you practice.  It can creep in when you least expect it.
  3. We don’t let our children go near strangers. Actually, 93% of all child sexual abuse occurs at the hands of someone known to the child and trusted by the parents.  Even if a child is never around strangers, he or she could be victimized by a neighbor, a coach, a religious official or family member.  Parents who teach only stranger danger are doing a disservice to their child.
  4. My child is not old enough for this discussion. Actually, the appropriate age to discuss child sexual abuse prevention is when a child is three years old.  The conversation can start as simply as “Did you know that the parts of your body covered by a bathing suit are private and are for no one else to see or touch?”  Continue the conversation by explaining to the child that he should tell Mommy, Daddy or a teacher if someone touches him on those private parts.  Be sure to include any necessary exceptions for potty training, hygiene and doctor visits.
  5. I don’t want to scare my child. Actually, when handled properly, children find the message empowering and are not frightened at all.  Parents do not refrain from teaching traffic safety for fear that their child will be afraid to cross the street.  So too should we address the subject of body safety.
  6. I would know if something happened to my child. Actually, child sexual abuse is difficult to detect because frequently there are no physical signs of abuse.   The emotional and behavioral signs that may accompany sexual abuse can be caused by a variety of triggers.
  7. My child would tell me if something happened to him. Actually, most children do not immediately disclose when they have been sexually abused.  Contrary to a child who falls down and runs over to tell his parents, a child who has been sexually abused is likely being told not to tell anyone because no one will believe him, that people will say it is his fault, that the disclosure will cause great sadness in the family and that the behavior is their little secret.
  8. We never leave our child alone with adults. Actually, children can be sexually abused by other children.  The very same lessons that can help prevent children from being sexually abused by adults, can keep them safe from other children.  Teach children what touch is appropriate and what is inappropriate, teach them the proper terminology for their private parts and teach them who they can talk to if anyone touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  9. I don’t want to put thoughts in her head. Actually, there is no data to indicate that a child who has been taught about child sexual abuse prevention is more likely to fabricate that they have been sexually abused.  According to Victor Vieth, director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University, “Children do lie, but seldom about being abused.  All human beings can and do lie, but it’s hard for kids to do it about sex.  They can’t lie about something they have no knowledge of,” he said, “and children don’t learn about oral sex on Sesame Street.”
  10. It’s not going to happen to my child. Actually, as the statistics reveal, child sexual abuse is so pervasive that it could happen to any child.  This reason is the catch-all. Educated, loving parents have actually said this to me.  If one were to ask any parent whose child has been sexually abused if they thought their child would ever be sexually abused, I can guarantee each one would say no.  No one wants to believe this could happen to their child.  We need to stop denying that it could happen and recognize that there are ways to prevent it from happening.  Make the decision to talk to your child about sexual abuse prevention in 2012.  It could be the greatest gift you ever give them.  Have a safe and healthy New Year.
Bio:

Jill Starishevsky is an Assistant District Attorney in New York City, where she has prosecuted hundreds of sex offenders and dedicated her career to seeking justice for victims of child abuse and sex crimes.  Outside the courtroom, Jill’s fondness for writing led her to create The Poem Lady, where she pens personalized pieces.  Her mission to protect children, along with her penchant for poetry, inspired My Body Belongs to Me, a children’s book intended to prevent child sexual abuse by teaching 3-8 year-olds their bodies are private.  A mother of three, Jill is also founder of HowsMyNanny.com, a service that enables parents to purchase a license plate for their child’s stroller so the public can report positive or negative nanny observations.

From the Prevention Institute: Reporters can do better: Media coverage of Sandusky trial amplifies shame/silence of sexual abuse

From http://www.preventioninstitute.org

Reporters can do better: Media coverage of Sandusky trial amplifies shame/silence of sexual abuse

Read the original article on the Huffington Post. 2012-01-11-images-pamelapic2.jpgThis article was co-authored with Pamela Mejia. Mejia is a Research Associate at the Berkeley Media Studies Group, where she analyzes how the media talks about public health and social issues. She was a lead author on “Breaking News on Child Sexual Abuse.”

People are still talking about Penn State. This week, a judge released the timeframe for the events leading up to the trial of former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. His arrest last November triggered a wave of news coverage. But what is the media coverage saying, and how might it affect the public conversation as Sandusky’s trial moves forward?

A new study, Breaking news on child sexual abuse: Early coverage of Penn State by the Berkeley Media Studies Group, commissioned by the Ms. Foundation for Women analyzed the first nine days of coverage. The study found gaps in reporting that should be fixed so that news coverage reaches past a single case to investigate how to prevent child sexual abuse, including what institutions can do.

The Bad News
There is room for journalists to improve their coverage. For one thing, though more than half of the news and general coverage introduced the idea that Penn State University bore institutional responsibility for the abuse, the great majority of the coverage focused on Sandusky’s culpability. As we discussed in an earlier Huffington Post column, coverage that focuses on the ‘bad guy’ misses the point that institutions were using their power to silence the scandal and were in large part responsible for the sexual abuse continuing and the large number of victims.

Where are the survivors? The survivors themselves were almost entirely absent from the coverage. Instead, former head football coach Joe Paterno dominated- the news talked about him more than any other figure, and the coverage was overwhelmingly laudatory. In fact, the coverage was over three times as likely to discuss the consequences of the allegations for Paterno, as it was to talk about the consequences for the survivors.

Where was prevention? Finally, and perhaps most critically, solutions to child sexual abuse and discussion of prevention were virtually non-existent in the coverage. Stories like this are important for opening up the issue, but news coverage is still are not yet talking about ways to prevent children from being abused, and how institutions themselves bear responsibility for perpetuating–or reducing–incidents of child sexual abuse.

The Good News
Sports reporters get the story.
The news coverage of the Sandusky case attracted many sports writers to the issue, some of whom were likely covering the topic for the first time. Almost one half (48%) of the initial coverage appeared in the sports sections. Child sexual abuse shouldn’t just be relegated to the crime section – especially when coaches and other sports professionals are involved.

Much reporting calls a rape a rape. Though Sandusky and his lawyer notoriously tried to downplay the allegations with phrases like “horsing around,” most of the news avoided repeating this minimizing language, and instead used phrases like “rape,” “sexual abuse,” and “sexual assault.” In cases of child sex abuse, when the news media doesn’t “soft pedal the enormity of the abuse perpetrated,” readers have a clearer picture of what the survivors experienced, and may better understand why prevention is critical.

Reporters–and their sources, advocates for prevention–can do better. The media spotlight won’t shift from Sandusky and Penn State anytime soon: journalists and advocates can take advantage of this opportunity to work to improve the coverage of child sexual abuse, and expand it to push for policies that will institute prevention.

Reporters can keep the issue on the sports pages and elsewhere in the news. The Penn State scandal is just the most recent and public instance of a crime that happens every day, one that, according to the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, “flourishes in secrecy.” To help end that secrecy, keep the spotlight on the issue beyond the current news cycle. Explore other sports stories on child sexual abuse: Investigate what coaches, teams, and schools are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen in their institution. Reporters need to shine a light on our accepting environment, expose the norm that child sexual abuse is an every day occurrence, and cover institutional and policy changes that would better support victims and penalize cover ups. Their stories need to show that young people are more important than sports heroes.

Advocates can release their comments to the media quickly. Many of the statements released by advocacy groups did not appear in the media until well after the first week of coverage and therefore could not be quoted by journalists as the story broke. If prevention advocates want to contribute to breaking news, they will need to respond faster and let reporters know what sorts of information and insights they can bring to a story.

Advocates and reporters can push for solutions. Advocates can suggest policies and programs that can shift the focus to prevention. Reporters can talk to advocates, researchers, policy makers and others in authority and push them for answers to these and other important questions about how to prevent future abuse. Reporters should ask: “What can we do to prevent another Penn State?” “What are communities already doing?” Media coverage of the tragedies that occurred at Penn State has helped open unprecedented and vital conversations about child sexual abuse. As the story continues to unfold, journalists and advocates have a unique opportunity to shift the conversation to what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

My Stories: Amy L.

I was 17 years old, scared to death, pregnant, unsure of anything and about to tell my friend that he was going to have another child. There is not a day that goes by where I do not recall the next few hours. Here he is just found out he is having another child and no emotion what so ever until I say that we need to go to the store for groceries. I had school the next day and I needed to pack my lunch. We are about to pull out of the drive when I pop him on the arm in a playful manner and he turned and before I knew it my head was against the window and his hands were around my neck. I recall the so sincere I am sorry over and over and it was never gonna happen again. 17 years old and pregnant, of course I believed Prince Charming.
Six months later and I took his son to the store to get some breakfast for the week. I allowed him to choose and he chose one that was not on sale. We were also in need of milk and a few other little items so I just went ahead and picked them up as well. His son runs into the house very excitedly because he got to choose his very own cereal. I walk inside with a smile because he was so very excited. My hands full of groceries and I catch a glimpse of him, fear that’s all I remember feeling. Moments later I am getting things thrown at me and thrown down and I am six months pregnant. His sister comes by and brings me in to the hospital where they try to get me to pursue charges against him. Oh if they had only gotten to me before him. He had already convinced me that I was not good enough for anyone else, he would never hit me again, he swore.
I got lucky, I had a beautiful, healthy little girl 3 months later. Little did I know she and his son would be his tool in keeping me. I was once again reminded by the doctor that I still could press charges and that next time I may not be so lucky. I of course did not listen and we went home as a family although they did keep me a couple extra days hoping I would change my mind. It was hopeless, I already bought into his mental abuse and I saw no way out. I was a child with a child and actually felt like I was not worth anything. I was the mother of his child and the way he thanked me was by making me feel worthless, what a man!
Two years later and things have certainly not improved but I have gotten much better at faking smiles. Today is our daughter’s birthday and we are having our friends and family over for a party. He gets a call for work and says that he will be gone just a little bit. I ask him to please take my now step son with him so the baby can take a nap before party. Apparently that was not a good idea. He grabbed me by my hair and slammed me into the kitchen wall. A few moments later he grabbed a knife and put it to my throat, “get the house ready” is all he said. By the time our company arrived I was ready to play the young, happy wife and mother I was expected to be. I will never forget how it felt that no one ever tried to help. I know people knew yet they did nothing. I was just a kid and I was in hell.
By now I had an entirely different reason for staying, my step son. His mom was a crack head and his dad was abusive, I was the only one in his life that ever showed him unconditional love. At this point I loved him as my own and there was not a chance in hell I was going to leave him so he could be the new target. All children deserve to be loved and he was no different so I endured the abuse at the hands of his father but in exchange I got the pleasure of loving and raising these children.
My step son has a new video game and he and his dad are playing it as I am in the kitchen starting dinner. My daughter hanging on my leg, another ear infection and she is fussy. I am easily frustrated these days as I am carrying my future all star, I am 7 1/2 months pregnant. I slightly raise my voice in attempt to get my husband’s help. After the 4th attempt I am extremely frustrated and my next move , I wish, well it changed my life forever. I walk into the room to see that they are about to start a new game, I ask again for help which I do not get. I do not ask again. Before thinking it through I unplug the video game and glance at my husband and immediately grab the kids and put them in the bedroom and shut the door. There was not a doubt in my mind that I was about to take a beating. I take off running down the hall and before I could get to the door I was kicked to the ground, I got up and was pushed back until I finally stopped trying. I recently found out that my step son watched this entire event happen. I started spotting but I could still feel him kicking so I tried to wait it out. By the next morning I was hemorrhaging and it was so severe that my shoes were covered in blood they were soaked. I was brought by the doctor himself to the hospital because I kept going in and out and he could not find a vein, they finally put the IV in my head. This doctor never question what happened, he was too busy trying to save our lives. As I delivered my son in attempt to save our lives I was still begging them to let me die, give my son a chance, let me die. I can still hear my voice from that day saying over and over please let me die save my son. A few moments later they show him to me and off they rush to put him on a veniltaor and now it is only me and the doctors as one of them says they will have to take it all if I am going to live. Take it all???? I am 22 years old, NO. At this point my husband still has not even taken the time to come see us. They finally think they have it all under control and just begin to give me transfusion after transfusion. I had lost over 70% of my blood but I still did not feel very lucky to be alive. My beautiful little boy later died leaving me shattered, empty, broken, I would never be the same.
I was asked why I made him do that. At that point I did indeed blame myself, I was his mother and it was indeed my job to protect him and he was gone. I battled major depression, lost weight, could not deal with it so I decided to go to the doctor. He put me on some medicine but I was also still hurting from what my body had been put through so he gave me pain medication. Ding, ding, ding jackpot, I now had something to numb me completely. Codine was my new best friend and how my friends and family did not see it was beyond me. If I was awake I was messed up, it was my way of not dealing. A few months later my step son woke me up, I was high and the look on his face, it ripped my heart out. I looked at my kids and later that day I flushed all of it. I was far from ready to blame my husband, I was still too busy blaming myself.
A few years later and I am indeed a much stronger person by this time, I have my angel to thank for that one. I am stronger and filing for divorce, one friend only one helped me get to this point. Most of my friends I had no contact with anymore but there was one that pretty much forced herself on me and that God she did. Divorce was the best word I had ever heard at this point but my brother was getting married the following week so I chose to wait and have him served after the wedding. It just did not seem fair to me if I had this hanging over our family at such a joyous time especially since it would only be another week. The wedding came and we stood as a family in what I believed our last family moment I would ever have to endure. He was cheating, lying, gambling, abusing, yep I had enough but…..
Before my day came he was diagnosed as TERMINAL. Here was this man that killed my son, almost killed me and I hated him but I still found compassion. Not to mention I was in no way ready to do this on my own I just knew that I did not need to be mentally and physically abused anymore. I was still believing that I was worthless, a whore, a bitch, not worthy of anyone, and that I would never get another man to tolerate me. Funny the way they can just make you feel like crap on a stick, I was merely his puppet. I decided that it would be wrong of me to take our children away from a dying man so I gave him a choice. Stop abusing and you can stay or keep it up and go live with your mom. In doing this I left myself very vulnerable to his attacks and his anger was certainly not about to improve. He did indeed stop hitting for the most part but the mental abuse steadily got worse, I would have much rathered be hit than that. At least when he hit it ended quickly, mental lasts forever. The mental abuse that I endured has been the hardest for me to get through.
He did indeed pass but it was not until 8 more years. I am pretty sure that no one could even imagine how a person becomes compassionate enough to take care of a dying man that has had you living in hell but somehow I did. The last two years were probably his worse, he was not strong and was very sick. I am ashamed to say that I felt I finally had the upper hand. If he looked at me I looked away, if he touched me, I moved, I would not allow him to touch me for two years. When he spoke to me I developed an attitude. I was so miserable and I tried desperately to make him miserable, turns out I have a heart though and I could not be mean. I wanted so bad to let him know I hated him and that yes, he killed my son but I just could not. His dying brought every single good, bad, violent, non violent action out and it was much more than what I ever expected.
When he collapsed my heart left, I sat there knowing that I needed to call 911 but I could not. I had prayed that he would die, I was dead on the inside and I wanted to take him down too. It finally hit me that I did love him, not sure what kind of love, my counselor says more like hostage love but whatever it was I did not want him dead. By the time the helicopter arrived at the hospital he was already gone. He was on life support and I felt like I was watching as I told the doctor to take him off. I did not drop one single tear telling him this. He informed me that he by law had to stay on support for 24hrs so I pulled the kids and told them that in 24 hours he would be gone. Now I cried, I could not see my children hurt like this. Now I finally had some sort of emotion but it was only for them. I had lived in hell for 14 years and he did not deserve my tears. I was not even capable of holding his hand at the time of his passing. I was weak, so very weak. As soon as they pronounced his death, I looked at my children and said “let’s go to Picadilly.” I was pretty cold hearted and this was only the beginning.
The first couple of months were a blur. I tried so hard to paint this perfect little portrait for the kids but to no avail. I decided I needed help, otherwise alcohol was becoming my best friend and I did not want that. First I just went to a counselor and a group and there was just too much rage, anger, hatred, guilt, I needed someone that could help me learn how to get through and be healthy about it. I got a Life Coach and all of a sudden I learned forgiveness. That was one thing I had not been able to do and the bad thing is that it was preventing me from having any real relationships. I did forgive and I have learned to move on though it has been very hard.
Most of us that are bruised, battered, torn apart peice by peice can eventually face our attacker, I can not. It was the hardest obstacle I faced. How do you get rid of anger and hatred so deep but you can not face the person that left you that way? It was an obstacle that left me frozen, it was as though I could not move. I would attempt a step forward and I would fall 5 back. This has not been an easy road, not by far.
I was once his victim, I am now MY SURVIVOR!! I know hell because I lived there. I know what it’s like to wonder how you will feed your children because the man that made me a victim and then died cleaned out our accounts before he died. He gambled my entire life away. I had to move my children from OUR home into an apartment and then to a trailer. I lost EVERYTHING, he took it. His family then broke into my home 5 times and stole every belonging we owned. To this day I still battle with guilt though I know it is not my fault. I have indeed forgiven him for the hell he put me through, I may never understand it but I forgive it. No not for him but for ME and for my son Jordan.
Today I have been a widow for 2 years and I am beyond proud of where I am. I am indeed a survivor. I have heard many people say that I had no choice but to get past it and to stand back up but they are very wrong. I had every choice to stay down and never go forward, I CHOSE TO GET UP! No one could make me get better, I had to do that. No one could make me forgive again I had to do it. I could have become bitter but I chose to be the one thing I have never been, HAPPY! I will always be scarred, I will always be extra careful, I will always wish that I had gotten my moment, my moment to say how I felt. I have heard that everything happens for a reason and to some extent I agree but not my son, he did not have to die.
My family sat back and watched as a man tore me down piece by piece and did nothing. My friends just turned their backs to it thinking that I could control it. Is this really a road that one should have to travel alone? Don’t be the one to wake up one day and see that your friend or family member is dead and you could have prevented it, be the one that steps up.
I am by no means rich, I still struggle on a daily basis trying to recover the life we once lived, the home we once had, the belongings. I have recovered my smile, laughter, some self esteem and I no longer believe I am worthless. It has taken a long time to get here but here I am and I am beyond proud of what I have recovered. He tried to win, tried to take me down in defeat but he COULD NOT! I win, I am here and I am fighting for every moment that  I get to SUCCEED!

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

Screen one

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!