Protection Against Crime

http://www.protectionagainstcrime.com/crime_prevention.shtml

A lot of helpful information to help guard yourself to crime victimization.

 

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Depression, PTSD, and Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Right

A great article for individuals suffering from PTSD for trauma from sexual assault.

https://www.eeoc.gov

If you have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another mental health condition, you are protected against discrimination and harassment at work because of your condition, you have workplace privacy rights, and you may have a legal right to get reasonable accommodations that can help you perform and keep your job. The following questions and answers briefly explain these rights, which are provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may also have additional rights under other laws not discussed here, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various medical insurance laws.

1. Is my employer allowed to fire me because I have a mental health condition?

No. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you simply because you have a mental health condition. This includes firing you, rejecting you for a job or promotion, or forcing you to take leave.

An employer doesn’t have to hire or keep people in jobs they can’t perform, or employ people who pose a “direct threat” to safety (a significant risk of substantial harm to self or others). But an employer cannot rely on myths or stereotypes about your mental health condition when deciding whether you can perform a job or whether you pose a safety risk. Before an employer can reject you for a job based on your condition, it must have objective evidence that you can’t perform your job duties, or that you would create a significant safety risk, even with a reasonable accommodation (see Question 3).

2. Am I allowed to keep my condition private?

In most situations, you can keep your condition private. An employer is only allowed to ask medical questions (including questions about mental health) in four situations:

  • When you ask for a reasonable accommodation (see Question 3).
  • After it has made you a job offer, but before employment begins, as long as everyone entering the same job category is asked the same questions.
  • When it is engaging in affirmative action for people with disabilities (such as an employer tracking the disability status of its applicant pool in order to assess its recruitment and hiring efforts, or a public sector employer considering whether special hiring rules may apply), in which case you may choose whether to respond.
  • On the job, when there is objective evidence that you may be unable to do your job or that you may pose a safety risk because of your condition.

You also may need to discuss your condition to establish eligibility for benefits under other laws, such as the FMLA. If you do talk about your condition, the employer cannot discriminate against you (see Question 5), and it must keep the information confidential, even from co-workers. (If you wish to discuss your condition with coworkers, you may choose to do so.)

3. What if my mental health condition could affect my job performance?

You may have a legal right to a reasonable accommodation that would help you do your job. A reasonable accommodation is some type of change in the way things are normally done at work. Just a few examples of possible accommodations include altered break and work schedules (e.g., scheduling work around therapy appointments), quiet office space or devices that create a quiet work environment, changes in supervisory methods (e.g., written instructions from a supervisor who usually does not provide them), specific shift assignments, and permission to work from home.

You can get a reasonable accommodation for any mental health condition that would, if left untreated, “substantially limit” your ability to concentrate, interact with others, communicate, eat, sleep, care for yourself, regulate your thoughts or emotions, or do any other “major life activity.” (You don’t need to actually stop treatment to get the accommodation.)

Your condition does not need to be permanent or severe to be “substantially limiting.”  It may qualify by, for example, making activities more difficult, uncomfortable, or time-consuming to perform compared to the way that most people perform them. If your symptoms come and go, what matters is how limiting they would be when the symptoms are present. Mental health conditions like major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) should easily qualify, and many others will qualify as well.

4. How can I get a reasonable accommodation?

Ask for one. Tell a supervisor, HR manager, or other appropriate person that you need a change at work because of a medical condition. You may ask for an accommodation at any time. Because an employer does not have to excuse poor job performance, even if it was caused by a medical condition or the side effects of medication, it is generally better to get a reasonable accommodation before any problems occur or become worse. (Many people choose to wait to ask for accommodation until after they receive a job offer, however, because it’s very hard to prove illegal discrimination that takes place before a job offer.) You don’t need to have a particular accommodation in mind, but you can ask for something specific.

5. What will happen after I ask for a reasonable accommodation?

Your employer may ask you to put your request in writing, and to generally describe your condition and how it affects your work. The employer also may ask you to submit a letter from your health care provider documenting that you have a mental health condition, and that you need an accommodation because of it. If you do not want the employer to know your specific diagnosis, it may be enough to provide documentation that describes your condition more generally (by stating, for example, that you have an “anxiety disorder”). Your employer also might ask your health care provider whether particular accommodations would meet your needs. You can help your health care provider understand the law of reasonable accommodation by bringing a copy of the EEOC publication The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work to your appointment.

If a reasonable accommodation would help you to do your job, your employer must give you one unless the accommodation involves significant difficulty or expense. If more than one accommodation would work, the employer can choose which one to give you. Your employer can’t legally fire you, or refuse to hire or promote you, because you asked for a reasonable accommodation or because you need one. It also cannot charge you for the cost of the accommodation.

6. What if there’s no way I can do my regular job, even with an accommodation?

If you can’t perform all the essential functions of your job to normal standards and have no paid leave available, you still may be entitled to unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation if that leave will help you get to a point where you can perform those functions. You may also qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is enforced by the United States Department of Labor. More information about this law can be found at www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.

If you are permanently unable to do your regular job, you may ask your employer to reassign you to a job that you can do as a reasonable accommodation, if one is available. More information on reasonable accommodations in employment, including reassignment, is available here.

7. What if I am being harassed because of my condition?

Harassment based on a disability is not allowed under the ADA. You should tell your employer about any harassment if you want the employer to stop the problem. Follow your employer’s reporting procedures if there are any. If you report the harassment, your employer is legally required to take action to prevent it from occurring in the future.

8. What should I do if I think that my rights have been violated?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can help you decide what to do next, and conduct an investigation if you decide to file a charge of discrimination. Because you must file a charge within 180 days of the alleged violation in order to take further legal action (or 300 days if the employer is also covered by a state or local employment discrimination law), it is best to begin the process early. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for contacting the EEOC or filing a charge. For more information, visit http://www.eeoc.gov, call 800-669-4000 (voice) or 800-669-6820 (TTY), or visit your local EEOC office (seehttp://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm for contact information).

Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma

Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma

Tips for Regaining Your Sense of Safety and Trust

Distraught womanThe trauma of being raped or sexually assaulted can have long-lasting effects. It’s common to feel afraid, ashamed, and alone. But no matter how bad you feel right now, remember this: you didn’t deserve what happened to you and you are not permanently damaged. Recovering from sexual trauma takes time, and the healing process can be painful. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll come out the other side wiser, stronger, and more resilient.

The aftermath of rape and sexual trauma

Sexual violence is epidemic in our society. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. have been raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. And in most cases (the CDC estimates it at 80-90%), the crime is committed by someone the victim knows.

The impact goes far beyond any physical injuries. When you’ve been raped, the world doesn’t feel like a safe place anymore. You no longer trust others. You don’t even trust yourself. You question your judgment, your self-worth, even your sanity. You may blame yourself for what happened or believe you’re “dirty” or “damaged goods.” Relationships feel dangerous, intimacy impossible. And on top of that, you may—like many rape survivors—struggle with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

It’s important to remember that what you’re experiencing is a normal reaction to trauma. Your feelings of helplessness, shame, defectiveness, and self-blame are symptoms, not reality. Dispelling the toxic victim-blaming myths about sexual violence can help you start healing.

Myths and facts about rape and sexual assault
Myth: You can spot a rapist by the way he looks or acts.

Fact: There’s no surefire way to identify a rapist. Many appear completely normal, friendly, charming, and non-threatening.

Myth: If you didn’t fight back, you must not have thought it was that bad.

Fact: During a sexual assault, it’s extremely common to freeze. Your brain and body shuts down in shock, making it difficult to move, speak, and think.

Myth: Women who are raped “ask for it” by the way they dress or act.

Fact: Rape is a crime of opportunity. Studies show that rapists choose victims based on their vulnerability, not on how sexy they appear or how flirtatious they are.

Myth: Date rape is often a misunderstanding.

Fact: Date rapists often defend themselves by claiming the assault was a drunken mistake or miscommunication. But research shows that the vast majority of date rapists are repeat offenders. These men target vulnerable women and often ply them with alcohol in order to rape them.

Myth: It’s not rape if you’ve had sex with the person before.

Fact: Just because you’ve previously consented to sex with someone doesn’t give them perpetual rights to your body. If your spouse, boyfriend, or lover forces sex against your will, it’s rape.

Healing after rape step 1: Reframe what happened to you

It can be extraordinarily difficult to admit that you were raped. There’s a stigma attached. It can make you feel dirty and weak. You may also be afraid of how others will react. Will they judge you? Look at you differently? It seems easier to downplay what happened or keep it a secret. But when you stay silent, you deny yourself help and reinforce your victimhood.

Our own story

It’s common to think that if you don’t talk about your rape, it didn’t really happen. But you can’t heal when you’re avoiding the truth. And hiding only adds to feelings of shame. As scary as it is to open up, it’s what will set you free. However, it’s important to be selective about who you tell, especially at first. Your best bet is someone who will be supportive, empathetic, and calm. If you don’t have someone you trust, talk to a therapist or call a rape crisis hotline.

Challenge your sense of helplessness and isolation

Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. It’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times. One of the best ways to reclaim your sense of power is by helping others: volunteer your time, give blood, reach out to a friend in need, or donate to your favorite charity.

You may also want to consider joining a support group for other rape or sexual abuse survivors. Support groups can help you feel less isolated and alone. They also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery. If you can’t find a support group in your area, look for an online group.

Assign responsibility where it belongs: on the rapist

Even if you intellectually understand that you’re not to blame for the rape, you may still struggle with feelings of guilt and shame. But as you acknowledge the truth of what happened and own your story, it will be easier to fully accept that you are not responsible. You did not bring the assault on yourself and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

If you’re feeling guilty or ashamed because…

  • You didn’t stop the assault from happening: After the fact, it’s easy to second guess what you did or didn’t do. But when you’re in the midst of an assault, your brain and body are in shock. You can’t think clearly. Many people say they feel “frozen.” Don’t judge yourself for this natural reaction to trauma. You did the best you could under extreme circumstances. If you could have stopped the assault, you would have.
  • You trusted someone you “shouldn’t” have. One of the most difficult things to deal with following an assault by someone you know is the violation of trust. It’s natural to start questioning yourself and wondering if you missed warning signs. Just remember that your attacker is the only one to blame. Don’t beat yourself up for assuming that your attacker was a decent human being. Your attacker is the one who should feel guilty and ashamed, not you.
  • You were drunk or dressed a certain way… You may be wondering if you are somehow to blame because of the way you were dressed or because you were drunk and not cautious enough. But it’s important to remember that regardless of the circumstances, the only one who is responsible for the assault is the perpetrator. You did not ask for it or deserve what happened to you.

Step 2: Prepare for flashbacks and upsetting memories

When we go through something stressful, our body temporarily goes into “fight-or-flight” mode. When the threat has passed, our body calms down. But traumatic experiences such as rape can cause our nervous systems to become stuck in a state of high alert. We’re hyper sensitive to the smallest of stimuli. This is the case for many rape survivors. Flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive memories are extremely common, especially in the first few months following the assault. For those who go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they can last much longer.

The following tips can help you prevent and cope with flashbacks and other upsetting memories and sensations.

Try to anticipate and prepare for triggers. Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the rape; and certain sights, sounds, or smells. If you are aware of what triggers may cause an upsetting reaction, you’ll be in a better position to understand what’s happening and take steps to calm down.

Pay attention to your body’s danger signals. Your body and emotions give you clues when you’re starting to feel stressed and unsafe. These clues include feeling tense, holding your breath, racing thoughts, shortness of breath, hot flashes, dizziness, and nausea.

Take immediate steps to self-soothe. When you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s important to quickly act to calm yourself down before they spiral out of control. One of the quickest and most effective ways to calm anxiety and panic is to slow down your breathing.

Soothe panic with this simple breathing exercise

  • Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Take a slow breath in through your nose, counting to four. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale through your mouth to a count of eight, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
  • Inhale again, repeating the cycle until you feel relaxed and centered.

Tips for dealing with flashbacks

It’s not always possible to prevent flashbacks. But if you find yourself losing touch with the present and feeling like the assault is happening all over again, there are things you can do.

Accept and reassure yourself that this is a flashback, not reality. The traumatic event is over and you survived. Here’s a simple script that can help: “I am feeling [panicked, frightened, overwhelmed, etc.] because I am remembering [traumatic event], but as I look around I can see that [traumatic event] isn’t happening right now and I’m not actually in danger.”

Ground yourself in the present. Grounding techniques help you direct your attention away from the flashback and back to your present environment. Some examples include tapping or touching your arms or describing your actual environment and what you see when look around (for example, name the place where you are, the current date, and 3 things you see when you look around).

Step 3: Reconnect to your body and feelings

Because of the hypersensitive nervous system following rape, many survivors start doing things to numb themselves or avoid any associations with the trauma. But you can’t selectively numb. When you shut down the scary sensations, you also shut down your self-awareness and capacity for joy. You end up disconnected both emotionally and physically—existing, but not fully living.

Symptoms that you’re avoiding and numbing in unhelpful ways:

  1. Feeling physically shut down. You don’t feel bodily sensations like you used to (you might even have trouble differentiating between pleasure and pain).
  2. Feeling separate from your body or your surroundings (you may feel like you’re watching yourself or the situation you’re in, rather than participating in it).
  3. Trouble concentrating and remembering things.
  4. Using stimulants, risky activities, or physical pain to feel alive and counteract the empty feeling inside of you.
  5. Compulsive use of drugs or alcohol.
  6. Escaping through fantasies, daydreams, or excessive TV, video games, etc.
  7. Feeling detached from the world, the people in your life, and the activities you used to enjoy.

To recover after rape, you must reconnect to your body and feelings

It’s frightening to get back in touch with your body and feelings following a sexual trauma. In many ways, rape makes your body the enemy. It’s something that’s been violated and contaminated—something you may hate or want to ignore. It’s also scary to face the intense feelings associated with the assault. But while the process of reconnecting may feel threatening, it’s not actually dangerous. Feelings, while powerful, are not reality. They won’t hurt you or drive you insane. The true danger to your physical and mental health comes from avoiding them. Once you’re back in touch with your body and feelings, you will feel more safe, confident, and powerful.

Here are some techniques that can help you reconnect with your body and the way you feel:

Rhythmic movement. Rhythm can be very healing. It helps us relax and regain a sense of control over our bodies. Anything that combines rhythm and movement will work: dancing, drumming, marching. You can even incorporate it into your walking or running routine by concentrating on the back and forth movements of your arms and legs.

Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere, even while you are walking or eating. To practice, simply focus on what you’re feeling in the present movement—including any bodily sensations and emotions. The goal is to observe without judgement.

Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong. Yoga, tai chi, and qigong combine body awareness with relaxing, focused movement. Studies show that they can help relieve symptoms of PTSD and trauma.

Massage. After rape, you may feel uncomfortable with human touch. But touching and being touched is an important way we give and receive affection and comfort. You can begin to reopen yourself to human contact through massage therapy.

A powerful program for reconnecting to your feelings and physical sensations

Helpguide offers a free, online program that can help you recover after rape. Our Emotional Intelligence Toolkit teaches you how to reconnect to uncomfortable or frightening emotions without becoming overwhelmed. It also teaches you techniques for quickly calming yourself down when things start to get too intense. The toolkit can be used in conjunction with therapy, or on its own. Over time, it can make a huge difference in your ability to manage stress, balance your moods and emotions, and take back control of your life. START NOW

Step 4: Stay connected and nurture yourself

Healing from sexual trauma is a gradual, ongoing process. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor do the memories of the trauma ever disappear completely. This can make life seem difficult at times. But there are many things you can do to cope with residual symptoms and reduce your anxiety and fear.

Stay connected to family and friends

It’s common to feel isolated and disconnected from others following a sexual assault. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. Support from other people is vital to your recovery. But remember that support doesn’t mean you always have to talk or dwell on what happened. Having fun and laughing with people who care about you can be equally healing.

Support healing by nurturing yourself

Take time to rest and restore your body’s balance. That means taking a break when you’re tired and avoiding the temptation to lose yourself by throwing yourself into activities. Avoid doing anything compulsively, including exercising and working. If you’re having trouble relaxing and letting down your guard, you may benefit from relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.

Be smart about media consumption. Avoid watching anything that could trigger bad memories or flashbacks. This includes obvious things such as news reports about sexual violence and sexually explicit TV shows and movies. But you may also want to temporarily avoid anything that’s overly stimulating, including social media and music.

Take care of yourself physically. It’s always important to eat right, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep—doubly so when you’re healing from trauma. Exercise in particular can soothe your traumatized nervous system, relieve stress, and help you feel more powerful and in control of your body.

Avoid alcohol and drugs. Avoid the temptation to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Substance use worsens many symptoms of trauma, including emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression. It also interferes with treatment and can add to problems at home and in your relationships.


If you want to learn skills for connecting to others in ways that reduce stress and anxiety, read FEELING LOVED.

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More help for rape and sexual trauma

Resources and references

National Sexual Assault Hotline – Confidential, free 24/7 hotline for one-on-one crisis support. Call 1-800-656-HOPE or chat online. (RAINN)

Sexual Healing from Sexual Abuse – Advice from therapist Wendy Maltz, an internationally-recognized expert in sexual healing after rape and sexual abuse. (HealthySex.com)

After Sexual Assault: A Recovery Guide for Survivors (PDF) – Learn what to do in the aftermath of sexual assault. Includes legal and medical advice as well as general recovery tips. (Safe Harbor)

Tips for Survivors on Consuming Media – Tips on how to limit your exposure to media that could prompt flashbacks and uncomfortable experiences for sexual assault survivors. (RAINN)

Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics – Learn more about the scope of the problem in the U.S. (RAINN)

Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, and the Facts – Learn about the dangers of rape culture and victim blaming. (Southern Connecticut State University)

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: October 2016.

Reposted from: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/recovering-from-rape-and-sexual-trauma.htm

Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, & the Facts

RAPE CULTURE, VICTIM BLAMING, AND THE FACTS

WHAT IS RAPE CULTURE?

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

EXAMPLES OF RAPE CULTURE

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped

VICTIM BLAMING

One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, “Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me.” We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.

Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.

What Does Victim-Blaming Look Like?

Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change.”

Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally, abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt his partner, but rather about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever he wants to his partner.

When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are colluding with and supporting the abusive partner and making it less likely that the survivor will seek support.

HOW CAN MEN AND WOMEN COMBAT RAPE CULTURE AND VICTIM BLAMING?

  • Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
  • Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
  • If a friend says they have been raped, take your friend seriously and be supportive
  • Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
  • Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
  • Let survivors know that it is not their fault
  • Hold abusers accountable for their actions: do not let them make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior
  • Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
  • Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
  • Be an Active Bystander!

Adapted from Marshall University and Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness

DATING AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FACTS

FACT: Regardless of their actions, no one deserves to be physically, verbally or sexually abused. In fact, putting the blame for the violence on the victim is a way to manipulate the victim and other people. Batterers will tell the victim, “You made me mad,” or, “You made me jealous,” or will try to shift the burden by saying, “Everyone acts like that.” Most victims try to placate and please their abusive partners in order to de-escalate the violence. The batterer chooses to abuse, and bears full responsibility for the violence.

FACT: Many victims love their partners despite the abuse, blame themselves, or feel as if they have no support system or resources outside of the relationship and so they feel as if they can’t leave. Furthermore, the period immediately after leaving an abusive relationship is extremely dangerous.

FACT: Jealousy and possessiveness are signs that the person sees you as a possession. They are one of the most common early warning sign of abuse

FACT: Abuse can come in many forms, such as sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. When a person in a relationship repeatedly scares, hurts, or puts down the other person, it is abuse. Harassment, intimidation, forced or coerced isolation from friends and family and having an independent social life, humiliation, threats of harm to you or your family or pets, threats of suicide if you leave, violating your privacy, limiting your independence and personal choices are all examples of abuse.

FACT: While the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, men may also be victims of relationship violence. Men face many of the same barriers as women that prevent them from reporting abuse, but also face a different kind of stigma since many do not believe that men can be victims of dating/domestic violence.

FACT: The majority of men and young men in our community are not violent. The use of violence is a choice. Men who use violence in their relationships choose where and when they are violent. The large majority of offenders who assault their partners control their violence with others, such as friends or work colleagues, where there is no perceived right to dominate and control.

Stating that ‘All men are violent’ places the blame for the violence elsewhere and prevents the perpetrator from being responsible for his violence. The majority of men and women want and can be allies to help in the fight against this kind of violence.

FACT: As many as one-third of all high school and college-age young people experience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Physical abuse is as common among high school and college-age couples as married couples.

SEXUAL ASSAULT FACTS

FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.

FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.

FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80%-90% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.

FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.

FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.

FACT: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly under-reported.

FACT: Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.

FACT: Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.

FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.

FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back or said “no”. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.

FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.

Adapted from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS)

reposted from https://www.southernct.edu/sexual-misconduct/facts.html

Inspirational Prayers

This is a great resource for those needing spiritual assistance getting through the process of Rape Recovery and Healing. My relationship with “God” shifted dramatically when I was in the throws of the damage of what the rape did to my mind, my heart, and my soul. God became that evil punishing, emotionally unavailable, hurtful boss. And then over time, and actually thankfully to spiritually minded people, it has shifted away from that. It still sneaks up sometimes when I pray to not be killed today, for example, But that is the Fear of living life on life’s terms somedays.

I do not believe that this experience happened to me for a spiritual reason. I think it just happened. For no reason besides a man’s hate towards women and other human beings. There were reasons he had, money, power, control, and whatever else was in his sick mind.

I do not believe that the rape was “god’s plan.” At least I don’t today. I am slowly but surely comprehending that this was just something that happened to me. It is not me and it does not define who I am. Rape has a horrible way of trying to take you under. Making you question your identity.

What defines me is my strengths and my weaknesses. My heart, what I create, who I am, and how I treat people, as well as myself. I am not a pre-destined victim. I don’t have to be a victim. I am beginning to understand that more and more. I have the power to choose to not be a victim anymore. To take that experience and make it work to my benefit. The reality of this world is that it is dangerous. That is life. We can’t outsmart or control everything. Things happen that we would never even think of. Like I never thought that would happen to me, not in my wildest nightmares, I never saw it coming.

Learning to detach emotionally, and not taking it so personally, which is very hard for such a personal experience, is apart of going from victim to survivor. There has to be a mental change, and for me, prayer helps me open myself to other options and perspectives.

I hope this helps you in your healing process.

 

Prayer for Healing:

Heavenly Power,

You are our Creator, and you are our Healer. You are the God who heals. You have compassion for us in our sicknesses and our pain.

Your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.

I come to you this day, asking you to heal my body. I ask you to go into each cell and correct whatever is wrong. Father, bring healing, harmony, and unity to every cell, every organ, and every system of my body. I ask that you would heal the root of any pain that I experience. Thank you that you are repairing everything that has to do with my body.

Right now I am giving you my fears and my worries. I pick up the shield of faith and draw confidence that you are working on my behalf this day.

Amen

For more prayers and the original form of this prayer see: www.inspirational-prayers.com 

 

Thank you to You and NoMore.org

I wanted to thank you to all who purchased my Awareness earrings and zine at the Paper Cuts Zine Night at Dunbar Gardens.

You helped me raise $20 dollars from the sales of the earrings and zines. Thank you so much for contributing to the  Arkansas Sexual Assault resource center Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits.

Thank you to Kaitlyn & Monica for asking me to contribute my story in the “It’s Not Your Fault” zine and participate in the Zine Night at Dunbar Gardens.

To purchase No More Awareness jewelry and a copy of my Steak Knife Poetry Zine you can visit:

Creative Cloud Designs on Etsy

And thank you to NoMore.org for permission to utilize their logo design to raise awareness and provide donations for Arkansas’ Sexual Assault organizations.

Writing letter to parole board

Today after visiting with my therapist I wrote a letter to the parole board in regards to the rapists upcoming review. He is currently in prison serving for failing to register as a sex offender and fleeing the county. Not for my rape, I may not be able to prosecute… I wrote explicit details that I will no longer visit or share. I have enough flashbacks. But today was hard and filled with gratitude.

Today I was reminded of the fact I am very lucky. I did not get murdered like the rapist threatened to do to me, I only got raped. Fucked up way of looking at it, but I’m alive. I am still apprehensive of when he will be released, and the financial ramifications of what the rape and crime did to my life. I am praying for god’s guidance for what to do next and praying for the most positive outcome, expecting nothing.

Writing the parole opposition letter made me revisit the events of that day. The events leading to it, and the events afterwards that are slow dissipating from the primary explosion. It has been like a bomb going off in my life. Sensory overload, thought overload, fear overload in ways I don’t think many could ever understand. I am coming to acceptance with the reality of how things are and are not. I am grateful to just be alive.

I am finding more and more reasons to live. Despite other people’s aggression causing me to go on the defensive and their aggression and domestic violence. I am focusing on security, in fact just received a letter proving the second identity theft that has occurred. I have a real case. However, It is hard to have people deny and try to get me to prove information and facts that are self-explanatory. But it will all work out in the end. The hardest part have been individuals trying to call me a liar, and letting individuals like that distract me from taking care of myself, their words and actions leaving stains. The easiest part has actually to be to remain calm and maintain calm. To not allow other people to try and prevent a healthy recovery of which I deserve. The coming to terms with knowing people are untrustworthy first and foremost, that I deserve for my trust to be earned, to not give it so freely has been difficult for me. I was a naturally trusting and forgiving person. I would give the shirt off my back for a friend in need when I could, I spoiled some friends by being this way, and when I had nothing to give, they lost interest and went to character assassination. I was in an emergency. If people expect someone to be calm when a traumatic experience occurs, then they are not comprehending the reality of what a traumatic experience is.

The trusting person that’s not me any longer. It’s hard to change. And I’m not going to ruin somebody else’s life just because I feel owed. It will only be based off their actions in regards to how they handle situations. Only then am I going to respond, and I have every legal right to protect myself from being murdered, harassed, threatened, and abused.

If someone does not like this, then what does that say about them. I just wish I had my cat back. She has Hepatitis B and is not safe to be around children. Some people I swear to christ.

Below is a link to letters to those who are in need of writing an Opposition for Parole Letter:

http://www.citizensagainsthomicide.org/category/parole-opposition-letters/

After signing up for Arkansas Vine Link I have been notified and updated about my rapist. If you would like to express your anger towards the rapist, and your fears of him being released, and fears of him causing harm, and wanting justice to be served to prevent him from raping another person you can contact the Arkansas Parole Board. Write a letter to the Parole Board and send it to them. I’d appreciate it.

Even in my most hysterical moments I have contacted and notified higher authorities, in regards to this man and his disposition to cause harm to other individuals. I flipped out when he stole my phone that had addresses in it. Those are other people that could be affected by this man. This greatly concerns me, not only for myself, but what if he goes after someone else I know personally, and the rape event that occurred in my life, happens to someone else? These are things that kept me up at night. Kept other people up at night. Fear. Mind-numbing, mind-blacking fear, fear of other people retaliating against me because I was victimized, prior and during and after the rapist was introduced into my life by other parties. I did not know this man, but He knew about me. I must say that has been the most frightening and terrifying and paranoia inducing experience in my god damn life. I don’t know if I will be able to trust people fully again.

Like today, at my therapy appointment, I saw a man being taken to the hospital for suicidal thoughts. I know what that is like. Wanting to end your life because of depression, but since my thyroid levels have stabilized, my antidepressants are correct, my diagnosis is correct, I feel less ashamed of what it took to get me here. I have a disease. It is treatable, and I will stick with recovery.

I discovered that when I got pregnant, it triggered my thyroid issues, which explains a lot: My allergies, my hypoglycemia, my reactions to birth control and them making me suicidal sometimes, a lot of things. So now a medical reason is completely verifiably and covered within the law (as it always was). This is a Huge weight off my shoulders and the most wonderful news I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t have to live with the guilt and shaming tactics of a group of peoples Oxford method to brainwash me into thinking I’m somebody I’m not. I knew it, but having it told to me and seeing verifiable results, speaking with other people, honoring myself and my experience, discussing and having individuals with professional experience with these things, and papers, and discussions, and validations to my experience has helped me out tremendously. Raped people aren’t the enemies. The rapists are. Remember that always.