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Posts Tagged ‘College Life’

Dating/Intimate Violence On College Campuses Is No Longer Taboo…

May 19, 2010 2 comments

Dating/Intimate Violence On College Campuses Is No Longer Taboo…

Abuse or assaults do not discriminate in any manner what-so-ever.  Abuse or assaults can rear it’s ugly head at any given time.  It is obvious to me and I hope you that our families and young people begin to understand that they need to be educated about dating violence and sexual assault. Ultimately their lives are in their own hands.

Students – you cannot rely on college administrations to protect you. Harsh and cold but true.  Violence on college campuses is no longer taboo.

Females – you are your best bodyguard but you have to be educated in all aspects.  Males – you need to reach out and be educated about how to control jealousy, anger management, behavior modifications and more. And, in the process of being a responsible individual you will hopefully become an Advocate against violence having the ability to stand by a friend who must seek help from either side.

Not being an abuser/assailant, not becoming a victim all starts within long before the opportunity of either exists.  I urge you to be proactive – you are worth it!

Food for thought for college administrators – why not consider putting into place a “required” class that every student entering your college must take to be educated about abuse and assaults?  Every student that is already enrolled must take the class within the next year.   Include physical self-defense training in the requirement for females.  Ultimately the goal is not to ever have to use the physical training but rather to know and have the ability to recognize the warning signs and know safety tips to ward off a potential assault.

Helping our young people to identify the red flags and warning signs that signal that their relationship is at risk are the most important steps.

Red flags. There are certain themes common to abusive dating relationships. They include:

Control. Does your partner: Use anger, intimidation, and jealousy to control your behavior? Try to control how you dress, what you eat, and who you talk to? Constantly check up on you or accuse you of being unfaithful? Make you afraid to disagree because you fear what may happen if you do? Threaten to reveal personal information if you don’t follow orders? Threaten to kill him/herself or someone else if you break up with him/her?

Belittling. Does your partner: Call you mean or vulgar names? Intentionally disrespect or humiliate you in front of others? Constantly criticize you and put you down? Purposely ignore you to punish you for behavior he/she doesn’t like? Insult your friends or your family? Make you feel as if nothing you do is right, or enough?

Isolation. Does your partner: Force you to drop activities you enjoy because he/she is not a part of them? Prevent you from having contact with your friends and family? Forbid you from talking to other guys/girls? Try to control where you go? Do you feel as if you can no longer have your own life?

Physical Abuse. Does your partner: Use threats to harm you to control your behavior? Throw things at you or pull your hair when he/she is angry? Hit, punch, or choke you? Purposely destroy your property to punish you? Force you to drink or do drugs? Force you into sexual behavior you do not want do to do?

The honeymoon phase. After an abusive incident, many abusers enter the honeymoon phase. Often they will apologize profusely, offer gifts, and make extensive promises about changing their behavior. This leads many victims to think that “It won’t happen again,” which makes it less likely that they will end the relationship.

Emotional roller-coaster. Victims of dating violence may experience a wide range of emotional responses to this abuse. They may feel shame and embarrassment, which may preclude their seeking help. They often experience extreme levels of stress, fear, anxiety, and depression. Many believe their abusers when they say that it’s “their fault,” and wind up experiencing self-blame and guilt. Still more lack the self-esteem to realize that they deserve a healthier relationship; they stay because they feel they can’t do any better.

If you are in immediate danger call 911.

If you are a victim of abuse or an assault; or if you know someone who is suffering at the hands of another individual please contact your local domestic violence/sexual assault agencies; call the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1-800-799-SAFE; LoveIsRespect.org, 866-331-9474 or The National Center for Victims of Crime, 800-394-2255.

You are not alone and YOU ARE WORTHY.

Yeardley Love Couldn’t Have Gotten a Restraining Order If She Wanted To…

May 18, 2010 2 comments

Yeardley Love Couldn’t Have Gotten a Restraining Order If She Wanted To…

Yeardley Love’s murder  has brought new light to dating violence on college campuses.  Perhaps the most disturbing new revelation is the fact that, despite, Huguely’s violent past, Love couldn’t have filed for a restraining order against him even if she wanted to. Virginia is one of eight states that excludes people in dating relationships—in other words, unmarried couples or partners—from getting protective restraining orders, and for the past three years, the state has failed an annual assessment of domestic-violence-protection laws. Presented by Break the Cycle, a national nonprofit that works to end domestic violence, the State Law Report Card assesses how easy, or difficult, it is for teens seeking legal protection from abuse. Writing for the Huffington Post, the organization’s executive director, Marjorie Gilberg, put it this way:  “Many of the blatant behaviors and warning signs that could have been leveraged for protection were not available to Love.”  “Laws are slow to change, and in this case, the laws are simply not keeping pace with the realities of dating violence,” Gilberg told NEWSWEEK. Virginia’s law, she added, also fails to protect victims of stalking, harassment, or property damage.

Do State Civil Domestic Violence Laws Protect Teens?

Break The Cycle

Teens and young adults are among the most likely to experience abuse in a relationship. Manystate domestic violence laws, however, do not protect those who need it the most. Below is a summary of how state domestic violence restraining order laws address some of the circumstances teen victims face.

Dating Relationships

· Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow victims of domestic violence who are dating their abuser to apply for a civil domestic violence restraining or protective order.

These states are: AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OK, PA, RI, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV, WI and WY. Not all of these states use the word “dating” in the law or define dating in the same way. But, all thirty-eight include protection for victims in a dating relationship.

· Twelve states do not allow a victim who is in a dating relationship to apply for protection under their civil domestic violence restraining or protective order laws. These states are: AL, AZ, GA, KY, MD, NY, OH, OR, SC, SD, UT and VA.

· One of these states, Oregon, allows a victim who is in a sexual relationship with the abuserto apply for a restraining or protective order.

Know the law in your state and the state that your daughter is attending college.  Just another reason for knowing and understanding dating violence abuse education.

“It’s Time To Get Your Head Out Of The Sand…”

March 2, 2010 Comments off

Becoming educated makes a person more understanding, more aware and more comfortable with the truth.

It is time for females to get their heads out of the sand, understand the myths (excuses) and learn the facts (reality) of “realisitic” personal safety training/self-defense and to become proactive. There is not one form of personal safety training/self-defense that is 100% guaranteed. Weapons of every kind are not a guarantee either (we’ll look at this too). However, with education at least you may be able to detect (awareness), learn the ability to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation and ultimately if a physical altercation occurs you will be better equipped with the knowledge of “realistic” defense.

We all have excuses for things in our lives that we don’t do or spend too much time doing. These excuses serve as deterrents preventing us from following through with action and benefits. When you begin to understand or experience the consequences of your excuses you get a really good reality check. This reality check (wake-up call) usually changes your way of thinking automatically.

The “myth concept” not only affects many areas in our lives but also has the same influence in the personal safety training/self-defense world. These myths make females apprehensive toward or opposed to personal safety training/self-defense.

A myth can be and often is used as an excuse for not doing something. The attitude, “it won’t happen to me” is a huge myth; every female should look in the mirror and realize that victimization does not discriminate. This is just plain ignorance if you believe that the possibility that you cannot be a victim is true. You have to debunk the thought that learning personal safety training/self-defense carries negative characteristics (aggression, arrogance, or violence). And, by not understanding that if trained properly to obtain the mental and physical abilities that you can possibly prevent or de-escalate an attack is a total underestimation on your part.

When we begin to understand the facts=reality of these myths=excuses we begin to understand objectives, the effectiveness and the technique of personal safety training/self-defense. We can save our life or the life of someone we love. We can prevent ourselves from becoming a statistic of crime. As I stated above, personal safety training/self-defense is not a guaranteed free pass from crime; however, your chances of survival and the ability to detect a possible altercation are increased significantly.

Becoming educated your level of awareness increases or is heightened, your intuition (gut instincts) are better in tune and your physical abilities are sharpened so that your chances of being attacked, raped or murdered are statistically lessened. You won’t broadcast that you know “self-defense” but you won’t walk down a certain street or in an area when your instincts (gut) kicks in and tells you to turn back. When someone grabs you from behind you won’t freeze but immediately your reaction will be to fight back upon recognition of your window of opportunity. You will see that a seemingly hopeless and defenseless situation has more opportunities for defense than you could have ever imagined.

Personal safety training/self-defense is NOT about being paranoid, it IS about being smart!

Knowledge is a powerful tool.

Stop making excuses and do something powerful for yourself and your loved ones – obtain Personal Safety Training. Training (mind, body and soul) that you will have for the rest of your life.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

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“It Won’t Happen To Me…”

March 1, 2010 Comments off

How many times have you said or heard someone say, “it won’t happen to me”? This myth suggests that crime victims are always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Let’s look at some cold, hard facts.

  • Almost 1 million incidents of violence occurs every year (visual only, the entire population of Montana)
  • 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during a 12 month period (visual only, the entire population of Kentucky)
  • At least 1 out of every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime
  • Every 2 minutes in America, someone is sexually assaulted and every 15 seconds a woman is battered
  • In 2007 there were 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault of females age 13 or older
  • 1 in 6 women in America will be a victim of sexual assault
  • 73% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knew
  • 1 in 12 women in American will be stalked in their lifetime
  • 40% of girls age 14-17 report knowing a peer who has been hit or beaten by her boyfriend

Often the “it won’t happen to me” mentality extends to “I live, work, hang out in a “good” neighborhood. I am not likely to experience crime.” This attitude that females have is totally naive.

Do you honestly believe that the numbers stated above represent women who were walking around sleazy neighborhoods, putting themselves in vulnerable situations or inviting crime into their lives? Or do bad things happen, sometimes, for reasons that are unknown and in situations that are out of our control? Most of us live in our own little imaginary worlds where unspeakable things don’t exist. Most people don’t think that anything horrible will happen to them, whether it be a car accident, a fatal disease, divorce, or an assault. It always happens to someone else, someone else’s wife, daughter or child. At about the age of fifteen it becomes apparent that things don’t always go our way and bad things happen.

Surely you know five other females besides yourself that has been or is likely to be raped. If this doesn’t concern you, it better, or at least give you something to seriously think about.

The sad part of the “it won’t happen to me” mentality is that it is not ingrained in our minds until something terrible happens in our “own backyard” or family. At this point, it’s too late. When we don’t raise our level of awareness and think offense and defensively we run the risk of being caught off guard.

In the personal safety/self-defense world, you can try to PREVENT yourself from becoming a statistic by paying more attention to your surroundings and learning how to protect yourself should something happen. This is the same reason that we have health, life and automobile insurance – you never know what might happen and when you may need to use the coverage – but if the worst should occur, you better be prepared. Why wouldn’t you do this for yourself, loved ones and friends – be prepared if God forbid something would happen that you would have to rely and personal safety training?

Always be prepared.

Don’t be NAIVE.

It’s not about strength – it’s about knowledge and knowledge is a powerful tool!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Rape victims offer advice to today’s college women

December 15, 2009 2 comments
By Jessica Ravitz,
‘December 15, 2009 9:53 a.m. EST’

A student spoke out about being raped in her dorm room and was both confused and let down by her school's actions.

A student spoke out about being raped in her dorm room and was both confused and let down by her school’s actions.

(CNN) — If you are already in college or headed there, sit down. If you’re the parent or friend of a student, listen up.

One in five college women will be raped, or experience an attempted rape, before graduation. Less than 5 percent will report these crimes to officials on or off campus, and, when they do, there’s a good chance the system will let them down.

These shocking statistics were first issued nine years ago in a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal laws are in place to require schools to act on these allegations and look out for the rights of victims.

But a recently released investigative journalism series indicates that when it comes to dealing with sexual assaults, many higher-education institutions aren’t making the grade. The investigation was done by the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit that says it seeks to make institutions more transparent and accountable.

“Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem,” said Kristen Lombardi, the center’s lead reporter for Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice. She pointed to a “culture of silence” and said critics say, “The biggest sin is one of omission. They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on in a public manner with their student bodies.”

Over the course of nine months, Lombardi and her colleagues spoke to 33 women who’d reported rapes, interviewed about 50 experts and surveyed more than 150 crisis clinics and programs on or near campuses. They also reviewed cases and combed through 10 years of complaints against institutions that had been filed with the Department of Education.

Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem. … They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on.
–Kristen Lombardi, Center for Public Integrity

The alleged rape victims and others shared stories of secretive hearings, administrators who encouraged students to drop complaints and failures to sufficiently pursue the accusations and seek punishments when warranted. Others spoke of gag orders, confidential mediations where women sat across from their attackers and feelings of being revictimized at the institutions they thought would help them.

“I was too young, still in too much shock and too emotionally gone to make decisions on my own,” said a woman who, as a freshman, reported a rape in 2001. “I needed an adult I trusted. The school did not provide such a person.”

Many said administrators appeared more concerned with protecting their employer, or the school’s reputation, than they were with protecting students. A number of women ended up leaving their universities. One student in the investigative series was written about posthumously, after killing herself.

Part of the problem stems from ignorance, said S. Daniel Carter, the director of public policy for Security on Campus, a national organization committed to advancing safety for students.

For one, he said acquaintance rapes, which dominate campus assaults, are often wrongly dismissed as “misunderstandings.” And lack of coordination when it comes to responses isn’t helped by the fact that too few school officials are trained to understand the impact of sexual assaults.

I was too young, still in too much shock and too emotionally gone to make decisions on my own. I needed an adult I trusted.
–Student rape victim, 2001

“People are going to do the best they can, but they only have limited knowledge based on their profession,” said Connie Kirkland of George Mason University in Virginia, a school that’s emerged as a model for others.

Kirkland, the school’s director of sexual assault services, has held this position since the office was established in 1993, making it among the first of its kind. She said the university jumped to action soon after then-Gov. Douglas Wilder issued in 1992 recommendations regarding campus sexual assaults. And while other Virginia schools made efforts early on, Kirkland said that when Wilder left office in 1994, most schools folded their programs.

Meantime, budgetary woes at schools across the country mean the programs that do exist often come and go, she added.

Kirkland said nothing serves victims better than having a clear point of contact on campus, an office and professionals who are trained — and can train others — to understand all aspects of these sexual assault crimes, including legal options, the psychological toll and health concerns.

A compassionate and well-meaning professor, administrator or residential adviser, for example, may listen, but they can’t be expected to provide full-fledged therapy or tell a student what it means to file a police report or go to court, she said. And a therapist can’t offer legal navigation any better than a law enforcement officer can be responsible for emotional processing.

I wish I’d been less trusting of my surroundings. … In college, you feel as if you are invincible.
–Sexually assaulted student, 2007

CNN reached out to women who spoke out about their rapes in college to find out what they would have done differently if they’d known then what they know now. In general practice, CNN does not name sexual assault victims, but here, in their own words, is advice from these women:

Feeling invincible, an age of denial and disbelief

“I wish I’d been less trusting of my surroundings,” said a woman who said she was assaulted as a sophomore in 2007. “In college, you feel as if you are invincible, when in reality, trouble could be hiding behind the façade of a casual get-together or a party where you feel completely safe. Always keep control of yourself and your surroundings, and keep a close eye out for your friends as well.

“And if you are a friend of a person who has been assaulted, all I can say is that though it might be hard, please listen and support that person,” continued the former student, who said she was “met with a response that I never expected — laughter and disbelief. Because of that, I kept silent until my attacker assaulted a friend of mine almost a year later.”

Said another rape victim: “Do not binge drink or leave drinks unattended.”

Reaching out elsewhere, protecting your interests

“I wish I’d told my parents sooner,” said a woman who reported a campus rape that happened in her dorm room in 2003. “My parents now know about it, but when it initially happened, they did not. I was just so ashamed.

“You’re too inhibited to make rational decisions, to understand emotionally what’s going on,” she added. “Whether it’s outside counsel, law enforcement, a friend or a parent, do not rely on the university to serve your best interests. And don’t sign anything.”

Seeking out professionals who understand

It is important to know all of your options after you are assaulted so you can choose how to overcome this.
–College gang-rape victim, 2001
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“Get help from a professional as soon as possible. I spoke with a counselor at Victim’s Assistance a few days after my assault, and that was crucial in helping me overcome this. There are a lot of different emotions after you are assaulted, and speaking with someone who really understands sexual assault is imperative,” said a woman who reported a gang rape by athletes in 2001 when she was a sophomore.

Furthermore, she said, “Family members and friends are also victims when this happens to someone they care about. The technical term is ‘secondary survivors.’ Sometimes it is difficult for them to deal with their own emotions and still be supportive to the primary survivor. Secondary survivors should not be afraid to get professional help, or to speak with a counselor about their own feelings. That way, they are not projecting their emotions onto the primary survivor. Seeking professional help also gives you options, and it is important to know all of your options after you are assaulted so you can choose how to overcome this.”

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