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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAVE:My Stories: Anonymous

PAVE My Stories: Anonymous
The beginning of my sophomore year of high school, I met the most amazing boy. I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend; he was sweet and funny. However, due to circumstance, I didn’t get the chance to date him until the very end of junior year. Once we did start dating, I was so happy because no one had ever treated me as kindly as he did.

A few months into the relationship was when I first knew something was wrong. He started being mean, he wouldn’t let me hang out with my girl friends, and basically forbade me from speaking to my guy friends. I didn’t want to break up with him for this, but these were my friends from elementary school. At the same time, I didn’t know if anyone would love me if we broke up.

It kept getting worse. He had no respect for me, constantly made me cry, never let me be with my friends, but was able to do whatever he wanted, while I sat alone at home on Friday and Saturday nights. I lost my virginity to him a few months into our relationship. After about a year was when it started getting bad. Growing up in a small town, rape had one meaning: when a stranger forced a girl into having sex with him. Rape didn’t happen between acquaintances, friends, significant others; if rape happened, it was usually the girl’s fault. Now, after a year of dating, when we had sex, it HURT. He’d be forceful and rough, and even when I cried and asked him to stop, he wouldn’t. He would yell at me to shut up and let him finish, and afterwards, would leave me to myself to finish crying while he went and played video games. Time and again, I went through this. It was stuck in my head that this was normal. He would be so sweet during the day when we were around other people, but by ourselves, it was different. I didn’t think I could leave; we had plans to get married, his whole family was so excited about it. I was so afraid he would hurt me if I tried to break up, and he made me feel like no one would ever love me. I wasn’t pretty, I was too needy, I was too demanding, I didn’t do enough for him. As much as I loved him, because I did, it was never good enough.

For another 3 or 4 months, sex was like this. Consensual at first, forceful at the end, with me feeling degraded and left alone to cry. I had no one to talk to, and no one noticed that I wanted to die. But because I was taught that rape was a stranger on a girl, I didn’t do anything. One night, everything changed and I knew it was wrong. We were alone for the night, and started fooling around. I didn’t want to have sex, but it started anyway. I changed my mind, and asked him to stop. He took my shoulders, slammed me down on the floor, and held me while I cried and screamed. The pain was horrible, and after he finished, left me to go watch TV. I couldn’t stop crying; I didn’t know what I had done to deserve this, I didn’t know what I could do right anymore to make him stop doing this to me. I kept crying and screaming, and eventually he yelled at me to shut the f*** up, to go downstairs and go to bed. And I did, because I was too afraid to leave him to go home. Home was a half hour away, and it was so late at night, I didn’t want to scare my parents. I broke up with him shortly after this. He tried so hard to get me back, but I have wonderful friends who held my hand while I tried to deal. I didn’t realize that rape could happen between significant others until almost a year after I broke up with him; I’m still dealing with the aftermath. I have severe anger problems, I have trust issues, and still, sometimes I’m afraid to have sex with my boyfriend of almost two years. All the memories still haunt me, but talking about it and dealing with the memories head-on has helped. I don’t know if mentally or emotionally I’ll be okay; but I’ve made progress. Enough that I can make it through the day without thinking about it and without worrying that he’ll find me.

Do you have a story to share? Please email your stories to info@ShatteringTheSilence.org with “My Stories” in the subject line.

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

 

Penn State University screening of Boys & Men Healing April 3rd & 4th

PAVE Affiliate, Big Voice Pictures, creators of the award winning video Boys & Men’s Healing, will be hosting their first ever screening and discussion at Penn State University Tuesday April 3rd and Wednesday April 4th for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Please Join PAVE Executive Director & Founder, Angela Rose at this Incredible Event!

Boys & Men's Healing Video Cover

PRESS RELEASE:

Boys and Men Healing Film Screenings at Penn State

One of Over Hundreds of Screenings Across the Nation: A National Awareness Raising
Campaign and MALESURVIVOR.ORG ‘DARE TO DREAM EVENT 2′
JOIN THE HEALING JOURNEY!

Penn State –Penn State will host two screenings of Boys and Men Healing, a
leading documentary produced by Big Voice Pictures about the affects of male child sexual
abuse and the importance of healing, speaking out, and advocating for ending the cycle of
the sexual abuse of boys. This event is hosted by Penn State University.

The film screenings and Q&A following will be held at Altoona Campus at 7:00 p.m. on
April 3, 2012 at the Misciagna Theater on the Penn State Altoona campus. A reception will
be held @ 6 p.m. that evening in the Titleman Lounge of the theater to welcome the
speakers. The panel of speakers include: Simon Weinberg, Co-Producer of Boys and Men
Healing, Mark Crawford, survivor and MaleSurvivor Advisory Board member also featured
in the film, Founding Board Members of MaleSurvivor and current Advisory Board
members, Jim Struve LCSW and Howard Fradkin, Ph.D,, and Chris Anderson, survivor
and Vice President of MaleSurvivor. MaleSurvivor is a leading organization providing
useful information to promote health, discussion and connections for male survivors of
sexual abuse and those who support them.

The second screening will be held at Penn State – University Park on Wed April 4th from 7-
8:30 pm in the HUB Auditorium. The panel of speakers will be available for a Q & A after
the screening.

Boys and Men Healing is a film from director and producer Kathy Barbini, and co-producer
Simon Weinberg of Big Voice Pictures. Boys and Men Healing digs deep into the impact of
male child sexual abuse on both the individual and society, and highlights the importance of
male survivors healing and speaking out for the well being of our families, and
communities. Featuring non-offending men, this film shows the profound effects of
boyhood sexual abuse — shame, intimacy problems, sexual identity confusion, post-
traumatic stress, substance abuse or and unresolved rage that led to violence. Despite such
devastating effects, each man ultimately chose the arduous task of healing. Through
counseling, support groups and prevention advocacy, each man is a testimony of hope and
the ability for survivors to thrive.

Events are free to the public and open to the media, though seating is limited.
Free parking in lots.

Who: Penn State is hosting. Free and open to the public.
What: Boys and Men Healing documentary screening and panel discussion
When: Tuesday, April 3 6:30 pm Reception and 7:00pm Film Screening ; Wednesday April 4. 7:00pm Film Screening
Where: April 3: Misciagn Theater on Altoona campus; April 4, at the Hub Auditorium at the Penn State University Park.

This film screening is sponsored by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and
Penn State Student Affairs

What the Experts are Saying about Boys and Men Healing:

“Absolutely superb…Emotionally Powerful”
Matthew Mendel, Ph.D., Psychologist
Author of The Male Survivor: Impact of Sexual Abuse

“Kathy Barbini’s film has the potential to transform those stories and voices into healing –
not only for individuals but also for families, communities, and even societies.”
Jim Hopper, Founding Board Member, 1in6.org

“An excellent film for teaching about children’s experiences of sexual abuse and the
multiple influences that support their healing and recovery…a marvelous gift to us all.”
Ernesto Mujica, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalysis , NYSPA Division of
Psychoanalysis and Advisory Board Member of MaleSurvivor and Co-chair of the 2012
MaleSurvivor Conference

“Will have a profound effect.”
Eileen King, Regional Director, Justice for Children

“An excellent breakthough…Extraordinarily touching and brave”
Alex Bottinelli, Resource Coordinator
Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

“Very beautifully filmed…know how deeply it is appreciated by countless people…”
Chrys Ballerano, Building Connections, Project Co-Director/Community Educator &
Resource Library Coordinator, NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault

“Boys and Men Healing is a powerful evocation of a complex, deeply felt issue that affects
not just sexually abused boys and men, but each and every one of us living in a society that
has come so late to recognize this prevalent problem, and is still struggling about whether
and how to prevent it and heal its victims.
Richard Gartner, Ph.D., Psychotherapist and MaleSurvivor Advisory Board Member
Author: Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life After Boyhood Sexual Abuse
and Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men

“While it is clear this film will help survivors heal and providers treat, I see an even greater
purpose. Use this film to educate lawmakers!Senator Joe Vitale, New Jersey State Senate

PAVE Featured in Psychology Today

Check out this Psychology Today article about Joe Paterno and Penn State. PAVE has a great shout out.

Click here to see original post at www.psychologytoday.com

Did Joe Paterno Really Break His Silence?

How shattering the silence stops abuse

By Robin Sax

Joe Paterno “broke his silence on the Sandusky case since being fired from Penn State University.” Clearly not a tell-all nor a hard ball interview, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post portrayed Paterno as a sympathetic, sick, frail old man who simply did the best he could.  Do you feel sorry for him?  Do you think he deserves a pass? Do you think his age, notoriety and illness is justification to the many victims who would not have been abused had Joe-Pa cared about him as much as he cared about himself, his team, and the school.Denial, minimization, blame are the tenets of sexual abuse cover-ups and misunderstanding.  While Joe-Pa may not have known what to do then, he should be able to say I know what to do now.  The missing parts of the interview were the noticeably absent questions of: 

  1. Did you ever confront Sandusky? If so, what did he say?  What did you say?
  2. What would you do if this happened today?
  3. When you saw Sandusky as recently as September 2011 did you think it was strange that he was still courting kids on campus?

A hundred more questions come to mind.

The value of Paterno’s silence breaker is that this gives us an opportunity to talk about sexual abuse– a subject that despite how progressed people think we are– is one that many would prefer to remain a silent subject.

On Tuesday, January 17 on Fox 11 KTTV’s Good Day LA, Angela Rose shattered the silence of sexual violence by sharing her own story of overcoming being kidnapped when she was 17 years old and sexually assaulted by a repeat sexual offender who was on parole for murder. Although her case was perpetrated by a stranger, Angela stresses that sexual abuse is typically committed by someone who is known to the victim. The offenders prey on their victims using trust as well as silence and fear as a tool to continue to offend. Angela Rose founded the nonprofit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and she is partnering with other groups to tackle this societal problem.

Child sexual abuse is a worldwide pandemic and prevalence rates are known to be as high as 60 percent. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual — they don’t discriminate.

While Penn State and Syracuse are now institutions that have been exposed, there are hundreds of other schools that work harder to cover up the abuse than simply expose it and deal with it.  In all of these cases, the pattern is the same when a child reports sexual abuse and when confronted with the investigation process— a process designed to be a fact finding process—the child is the one who is disbelieved, penalized, and blamed.  The children get victimized twice – once by the people they look up to and admire, and then again through the cover-ups of the perpetrators, and their colleagues.

Take a case that as not received the same attention as Sandusky or Fine.  It is the case of Steven Noyes of Naples Florida.  In April 2011, nine-year old Jane Doe reported that she was sexually and inappropriately touched by her fourth grade teacher Steven Noyes.  Not surprisingly, he denied all allegations and hid in the joy of being the “beloved teacher.”   While the school  initially suspended Noyes, it came out that he was doing report cards, continued official duties and even  communicated with children  and parents during his time on “admin leave.” It smelled of a BS admin leave with no real intention of looking objectively into the facts of the allegations.  The smell got worse when the school seemed to have conducted a shoddy (at best) internal investigation that  resulted not only in Noyes returning to school but culiminated in the ultimate blow when principal Ginger Sauter suggested that the child leave the school with zero justification. So, like these other high profile cases the school seemed to practice their same protection for themselves instead of saying “mea cupla, we screwed up, and we are sorry.”

School and institutions have choices.  They can choose to pick denial, minimization and blame and live being more concerned about the institution, the school, and the teacher – or they can stop blaming the victim and protect the victim.

When the institutions protect abusers, they not only are allowing for rampant prolific abuse to continue but are sending the message for victims to stay silent because the adult and institution will always win.  Children are being taught that  horrific,  vile, and abusive behavior is acceptable  and that their words do not matter.

We are here to say victim’s words DO matter.  Their disclosures are critical.  The victim’s voices must be heard and we the growns up cannot be silent.  The fact that we even have to have laws of mandated reporting to order people in positions of trust to report is telling even and of itself.  The fact that those who work with children have to be mandated to tell is just troubling.   Do we really need a law to say “tell.”  Do we need to have laws to say do the right thing and don’t kick the victim out of school too?

We can no longer be silent.  We all have a responsibility to tell whether mandated by  the law or not.  We are the adults – and kids count on us to be vocal and stand up for our victims who will live with this pain for the rest of their lives.   In New York City, buses and subways are covered with billboards that say “When you see something, Say something!” We urge you to REPORT IT!  In workplaces and in the armed services there are hotlines given for anonymous reporting.  Whether duty bound by mandated reporting laws, we the adults should retrain our default to tell and to tell until someone does something.   The more silent you stay, the more children are hurt.

You can make a difference. Report! Advocate! Get involved and most importantly, tell.

Love Our Children USA: Love Our Children USATM is the leading national nonprofit and ‘Go-To’ prevention organization fighting all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has broken ground in preventing violence against children and eliminating behaviors that keep them from reaching their full potential. Love Our Children USA teaches effective parenting solutions and fosters kid success by creating valuable programs that empower positive changes in parenting and family attitudes, bullying and cyberbullying prevention, Internet safety and school violence prevention through public education.    The goal of Love Our Children USA is Keeping Children Safe® and strengthening families. www.loveourchildrenusa.org

PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a multinational nonprofit that uses art, education and grassroots action to shatter the silence of sexual violence. www.ShatteringTheSilence.org

Robin Sax is a Fox 11 legal analyst,  California-based attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor, who has authored six books including It Happens Everyday Inside the Life of a Sex Crimes DA and Predators and Child Molesters:  A Sex Crimes DA Answers 100 of the Most Asked Questions.  http://robinsax.com/

Thankful for Survivors’ Stories that Shatter the Silence of Sexual Violence

Thanksgiving is this week and I wanted to take a moment to thank survivors of sexual or dating violence who have shared their stories shattering the silence of their suffering and encouraging others to do the same. PAVE introduced “My Stories” to motivate us to share our stories of how we have been affected by sexual and dating violence. “Survivor Stories,” by photographer Teresa Prince, is another project that focuses on the importance of survivors sharing their stories.

“What I really want to do is get their words out there so that victims who are still suffering can read this and realize they are not alone,” said Prince.

Prince’s “Survivor Stories” project is not her first project about sexual assault awareness. Her first project, “Speaking Through Silence: Survivor Stories” shined light on the issue and was a part of her healing as a survivor. With her current project Prince wants to focus on how others made this transition from victim to survivor and to bring hope to other victims still suffering in silence.

Prince’s project combines photography and story collecting to share more than just the words of survivors. Prince explained she wants to give a voice and a face to their experience because that makes the stories real, and these men and women deserve to be heard.

“If we never get a face or a name then this kind of becomes a victimless, faceless crime unless we get the real stories out there,” said Prince, “We cannot ignore it.”

I whole heartedly agree with Prince in the importance of sharing the reality of the many men and women who have been a victim of sexual and dating violence. I am so thankful for the work she is doing and I want to encourage others to share their stories.

We all have a voice and we all deserve to be heard because the world deserves to hear our story.

-Sarah