Posts Tagged ‘National Sexual Violence Resource Center’

Anny Jacoby Facilitating Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Program

April 26, 2011 Comments off

Program trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby has trained and become a Prevention Specialist and Facilitator for Darkness to Light, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.   The focus of the Stewards of Children Program is to effectively shift the responsibility of recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse to adults, and teach them how to make a local impact.

“Stewards of Children is the only national program which is evidence-based and proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. Training is offered to community groups, parent groups, grand-parents, all organizations that serve children and youth (paid staff and/or volunteer), church congregations, every employee in school districts, coaches, law enforcement, etc.  All adults.”   (

Not only is the Stewards of Children a training program, but it’s also being used to change the way society looks upon child sexual abuse, to remove the secrecy, denial and fear and move the issue into the open where children can grow up in a safer environment, find assistance when needed, and know that there are responsible adults within the community to meet their needs.

Anny Jacoby, whose expertise is in personal safety and victim advocacy, has broadened the scope of her experience by joining forces with Darkness to Light and advocating through the Stewards of Children program.

Jacoby is also a Consultant for the organization and, if there is no Stewards of Children program in your community, she can assist in its development.  She is also available for workshops and events to promote the program, connect with area Prevention Specialists and Facilitators, and aid in reaching out to those who wish to provide adults with the training necessary to become actively involved in preventing and repairing the damage of child sexual abuse.

To arrange assistance from Anny Jacoby, she can be reached at

For more information:

Darkness to Light

Anny Jacoby


Sexual Assault Can Be Prevented

April 12, 2011 5 comments

It can happen at home. It can happen at work. It can happen in a car. It can happen in a dorm. Sexual assault occurs whenever someone is forced, coerced or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The list of offenses is graphic and includes rape, incest, date rape, marital rape, sexual harassment, child sexual assault, stranger rape, forced prostitution, exposure, voyeurism and statutory rape. Silence continues to surround the topic of sexual assault, yet according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six American women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Seventy three percent of rapes were committed by a non-stranger — a friend, intimate, relative or acquaintance. In other words, sexual assaults are happening more often to people we love by people they know, rather than the stranger hiding in the bushes. And it’s happening to our daughters, mothers, girlfriends, sons and co-workers.

There are many myths that still exist today that place blame on the victim, such as past consensual sex, whether alcohol was involved and even the type of clothing worn by the victim. No one, under any circumstances, deserves to be sexually assaulted . Period. Sexual assault is not about sexual desire gone wrong but about power and control over another, utilizing sex as a weapon. Most often sexual assault happens as a pervasive result of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that assert male privilege over females, as evidenced by advertising, music videos, video games and other media. When males are taught to respect their peers, both male and female, how to understand boundaries, the elements of consent and how to appropriately challenge negative behaviors of peers, then change at the individual level can happen. However, beyond individual responsibility, we need organizations that support the redefining of positive parameters that define masculinity beyond brute strength and sexual activity. We need organizations that challenge young people to develop effective communication and negotiation skills for healthy relationships. We need systems that support victims and understand the devastating impact of trauma due to sexual assault. We need churches, educational institutions, community agencies, parents and youth organizations to step out of the box and talk about sexual assault in authentic, informed and creative ways.

Sexual violence is preventable. However, prevention is more than educating individuals concerning objectification and healthy sexual boundaries. By following the Spectrum of Prevention, a tool developed by the Prevention Institute and tailored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, communities like yours can participate in comprehensive sexual-violence prevention initiatives. The spectrum consists of strengthening individual knowledge and skills, promoting community education, educating professional providers, fostering coalitions and networks, changing organizational practices and, finally, influencing policies and legislation.

Programs to help youth navigate the maze of relationships that often includes violence in many forms. Teens-4-Change is a social-change organization for young women ages 14 to 18 that focuses on healthy bodies, minds and relationships. R.A.P., Raising Awareness and Prevention, works with males at the high-school and college level to challenge pervasive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence.

Take the opportunity during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to learn more, do more and understand more about an issue that affects entire communities. Challenge leaders to reinforce positive cultural norms and send clear and consistent messages that sexual violence is traumatic in any form, as well as inappropriate. Because sexual violence happens in all races, socio-economic classes, genders and age groups, we need to send the message to everyone that no one, under any circumstances, should be blamed for being sexually violated. Intervention is important and necessary; however, primary prevention, stopping sexual violence before it ever starts, is a worthy goal for ALL communities.

Take care and STAY SAFE!



Contributor Al Renna

Pinwheels Call Attention to Child Abuse, Ways to Identify and Prevent It!

April 11, 2011 1 comment

Many communities “plant pinwheel gardens” each April of colorful pinwheels spinning in the wind which represents a child living in the community who was abused last year.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and many local organizations offer tips on preventing abuse.

Congress first declared April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time designated each year to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, in 1983, and each year the president issues a proclamation calling on Americans to use the month to help prevent child abuse.

The first step in helping abused children is learning to recognize the symptoms of child abuse.  Although child abuse is divided into four types – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment – the types are more typically found in combination than alone.  A physically abused child for example is often emotionally maltreated as well, and a sexually abused child may be also neglected.  Any child at any age may experience any of the types of child abuse.

Child abuse leaves more than just bruises.  Long after children have recovered from the physical results of any type of abuse, abused children suffer from emotional and psychological trauma that can last the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, many bystanders witness child abuse and do nothing about it. Neighbors and friends may hear or even see child abuse happening, but don’t want to intrude or interfere with “the rights” of the parents.  Such inaction can mean years of pain and heartbreak for young children who are unable to get out of a horrific situation.

Abused children need your intervention.  In their helplessness, they must rely on capable adults who are willing to take a stand and get them out of an abusive environment.  By being aware of child abuse, and helping to educate the people you know, you can help prevent child abuse in your community.

Identifying Child Abuse

While it is impossible to determine the presence of abuse or neglect by behavior, the following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
  • Has learning problems or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of, or blames the child for the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and the Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

Preventing Child Abuse

Learn about child abuse.  Educate yourself and keep these key facts in mind:

  • Child abusers can be any age, any gender and any race.  They can be from any economic class, and have any level of education.
  • Children are more likely to be abused by their own parents than by a stranger.
  • Rarely does an incident of child abuse happen in isolation.  When a child is abused once, it is likely to happen again.
  • Educate your neighbors and friends about child abuse.

Stop child abuse when you see it.  If you have trouble identifying the difference between child abuse and acceptable forms of discipline, learn the Federal and State laws and find resources that distinguish between discipline and abuse.  Do not hesitate to contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child).  During your anonymous call, their counselors can help you evaluate the situation and help you make a child abuse report to the proper authorities.  If you are nervous about making a report, they will even stay on the line during a 3-way call to offer you support.  If a child is in life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately.

It’s time that people take a stand against child abuse.  Your simple actions will help prevent child abuse and give abused children hope for a brighter future.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Why Kids Don’t Tell…Call To Action

April 4, 2011 Comments off

Why Kids Don’t Tell by Marlene Mish, Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Jackson County

One of the most frequent questions we get from the community is why kids don’t tell anyone about abuse, keep it a secret for so long, or never tell at all. A few facts will help us:

  • Researchers tell us that only about 30% of abused children tell an adult or ask for help.
  • Girls tell more often than boys. In fact, most boys never breathe a word of abuse, especially if it’s sexual, for their entire lives. And those who do often delay their disclosures, often for decades.
  • Many children who do get the courage up to tell an adult are not believed. If this happens, it is just another betrayal, and odds are they will keep their pain and secrets to themselves and suffer in silence.

Children have their own logic and value systems and unless we understand that, we will never understand why they keep heinous experiences to themselves. Here are just a few really valid reasons why a child would not tell anyone of abuse:

  • They feel shame. Most offenders tell the child it is her fault or that she caused him to act in this way. Since we have told children that adults are right, why should a child doubt that?
  • Children blame themselves for the abuse. They take the blame onto themselves and turn it inward and here begins a life of low self-esteem, depression, lack of self-worth, self-harming behaviors and the whole gamut of destructive paths.
  • The offender makes the child feel special, gives him gifts, and takes him on special outings and gives the child attention that he may not be getting at home. An offender in the home may single out one child for this grooming process.
  • The offender threatens the child.  “If you tell, I will kill your family.”  “If you tell, they are going to take your mom away.” “If you tell, I will hurt your dog.” If you tell, YOU are going to get into a lot of trouble for what you’ve been doing.” “No one will believe you over me.”
  • The child is too young to know that what is being done to her is wrong. She is told that it’s what adults do, how they play. The child doesn’t question the adult.
  • The child has no knowledge at all about sex and sees the abuse as normal.

This is just a sampling of the reasons so many children don’t tell. That doesn’t mean they don’t suffer. It is no wonder they have nightmares, can’t concentrate in school, act out with aggression or move inward to depression and try to harm themselves.


We as adults need to provide a safe place for children to tell.  As parents we need to talk to our kids about what they should do if anyone touches them inappropriately.  Also, our actions when a child discloses can either validate the child or contribute to the lifelong ill effects of the abuse.  The most important thing you can do is tell the child you believe them, that it is not their fault, and that they did the right thing telling you.  As adults we can prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Via D2L

Take care and STAY SAFE!

April Awareness Month…Heighten Your Awareness

April 1, 2011 Comments off

As we begin this month of April of awareness we have several awarenesses that are dear and close to my heart.  Although I feel that every awareness should be recognized on a daily basis it’s great that we put aside specific months or days to bring much needed attention to important issues and topics.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with awareness months, become educated, pro-active and pass every bit of information onto others – you never know who may just need a shoulder, a bit of information or help in other ways.

  • Child Abuse Prevention Month

Prevent Child Abuse America is committed to promoting legislation, policies and programs that help to prevent child abuse and neglect, support healthy childhood development, and strengthen families.

Child Sexual Assault Abuse

Darkness to Light is committed to Empower People/Adults to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.  Our programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibility to the reality of child sexual abuse.

  • 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before she turns the age of 18
  • 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18
  • More than 90% of abusers of children are people children know, love or trust.
  • There are more than 39% Million sexual abuse survivors in America.
  • More than 60% of pregnant teens have been sexually abused.
  • 20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8.
  • Most will never tell


  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is a comprehensive collection and distribution center for information, research and emerging policy on sexual violence intervention and prevention. The NSVRC provides an extensive on-line library and customized technical assistance, as well as, coordinates National Sexual Assault Awareness Month initiatives.

Read more about the… National Sexual Violence Resource Center

  • National Poetry  Month

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Frequently asked questions about NPM.


  • Autism Awareness Month

Improving the lives of all affected by autism. Autism Society of America (ASA) is the leading voice and resource of the entire autism community in education, advocacy, services, research and support. ASA, a chapter and member-based organization, is committed to meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. ASA accomplishes its ongoing mission through close collaboration with a successful network of chapters, members, supporters and organizations.

Read more about the… Autism Society of America

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effect on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. They are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

Increasing Awareness of Women of with Autism Spectrum Disrders

Sharon daVanport, the executive director of Autism Women’s Network, said that more clinicians and leaders in the autism community are recognizing that autism is not just a man’s diagnosis. She said men with autism might be more obvious than women, since even at a young age women are held to higher standards in behavior, and they try to meet those standards.

“Females are learning to pretend, we’re learning to mimic other people,” daVanport said. “We watch other people and how they talk, how they do things. And we become very good actresses, and because of that we tend to go unnoticed until we get older. Most females diagnosed on the autism spectrum, many are adults before they actually are detected.”

Read more about Autism Women’s Network

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Private Practice Tackles a Violent Rape Storyline

November 9, 2010 Comments off

If you watched last week’s episode of ABC’s hit show Private Practice then I’m sure that like me you were on the edge of your seat, mouth agape in shock during the final few moments of the episode. As Charlotte King, Chief of Staff at St. Ambrose’s Hospital and the doctor whose specialty is sexology, leaves her office she is attacked by an unknown man and thrown into her office with a slamming door.

From the looks of the chilling teaser for the November 4th episode, it was a violent attack and if you’ve read the inside scoop from Entertainment Weekly you’d know too that it was in fact a violent rape.

The Aftermath of the Attack

Last week’s episode focused on the immediate aftermath of the attack. From the start King is adamant that she was robbed – not raped – even reporting so to the police. It isn’t until she is alone with Addison, played by Kate Walsh, that the reality of the rape becomes evident but King herself isn’t ready to admit it.

“I wasn’t raped. I was robbed. No rape kit…He took my wallet. He didn’t take anything else.”

Addison later tried to convince King to report the rape but King is unwavering. She does however give Addison (and viewers) a glimpse at the horror she experienced:

“It’s dirty and sweaty and he licks your face and he wipes himself off in your hair and when you try to scream he punches you so hard you see God. And then he goes at you again, raping stuff you didn’t even know you had because he enjoyed it so much the first time.”

This raw picture of the attack is chilling but one thing is clearer than anything else – King will not play the victim.

“I know you’re trying to help,” King says to Addison, “but if helping means that everyone, that Cooper [her finance], is going to be looking at me like you’re looking at me now, well, then please don’t help me.”

Not a Victim

One of the most striking aspects of the episode for me was King’s refusal to play the victim. She is adamant in keeping the rape a secret from anyone but Addison and unlike the “typical victims” we normally see on TV who breakdown and cry, King’s loudest emotion is her anger. In fact, it is her anger that gives her strength and helps her cope.

I know many will say that King’s refusal to admit the rape or be labeled a victim is her denial, and I wouldn’t argue with that, but I think that for King it is more about how this label – victim – would change how people see her, how she sees herself.

When attacked she fought, she screamed, yelled, punched and kicked much like many other women. She will not be the victim because she survived and makes it clear she won’t have anyone calling her one when Cooper uses the word (albeit concerning the robbery, the only thing he thinks happened) and she lashes out saying:

“You ever call me the victim again this marriage is off.”

A System Full of Flaws

One of the most frustrating aspects of the episode for me was the many flaws we see with the criminal system. The man who raped King is questioned by police and Sheldon, the practice’s psychiatrist after he is found confused on the street and covered in someone else’s blood, but because no one has filed any charges the longest they can keep him is 72 hours for assaulting Sheldon and kicking a cop.

The fact that he raped someone is clear, but without a charge he is relatively a free man. Regardless of the fact that King refused a rape kit and lied to police, this man is a rapist with or without a named “victim” – or shall we say survivor. Not only is he a rapist but in this case he is a mentally ill man with a temper and vendetta again women after recently finding his girlfriend cheating.
Unfortunately, women who are raped often keep the attack a secret like King and refuse a rape kit or press charges. For some it is denial, for others shame or fear or like King the need not be to labeled a victim, but for whatever reason charges are not made and rapists walk free.

What’s Next?

Both Strickland who plays King and Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer of the show, understand the severity of undertaking such a story line.

“A lot of violence against women on television is from the point of view of law enforcement,” points out Rhimes, “as opposed to standing in the shoes of the actual victim and seeing how it is for them and the people around them.”

“Creatively, it’s a real gift for an actor,” said Strickland. “But I also knew that this would reach so many people who have either experienced it or have been close to people who have experienced it. The only thing I said was that we have to get it right.”

Part of getting it right means that King’s rape will not serve as a single episode or fleeting moment in her character’s storyline.

Not only did she ensure that the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) worked with her and the show’s writer every step of the way, but she’s going beyond her acting duties and using the scene as a platform to work with and build awareness on the issue of sexual abuse and its devastating mental health effects.

“The thing I’ve learned from my work with survivors is that they want this. The only way people can confront their feelings is to see that there are more outlets for their stories being told,” Strickland told Pop Tarts.

In preparation for the scene, Strickland spent time at a rape treatment center in Los Angeles, where she was confronted with children as young as five who were undergoing professional medical help to recover from the ordeal.

“It’s never too late to get help. Women can go in there, never having talked about it for 20 years and get treatment, no questions asked. If it’s a family member, or your own husband, a lot of people shy away from speaking out,” she continued, “There had also been a five-year-old girl just brought in when I was there, who had been repeatedly raped, waiting in the room. There was another young girl seeking therapy.”

“I knew instinctively going into it that you can’t let the storyline die off because once this happens to a person, this is their reality and it’s their life,” she said. “When something like this happens, it is absolutely devastating and it shatters a person’s reality and the thing that I love moving forward is that you really see what a person deals with in terms of whether they can come to terms with the fact that this happened – can they try to be proactive in taking this person off the streets and can they be a partner in a relationship again?”

And while performing a rape scene for the lights and camera was certainly a challenge for the 34-year-old actress, she was more concerned about the show’s crew having to stand there and watch.

“The difficulty is that you want it to be as realistic as possible without being un-watchable because the reality of the event is so horrific,” Strickland added. “We did the scene for a very long time and more than anything, my concern going in was if there were any people in the crew that needed to step away, I completely understood because we have some survivors in our crew.”

“We in no way are going to let this thing go away in four episodes” says Strickland, “Charlotte will live with this for as long as she’s a character on Private Practice,” much like any other woman who is violently raped.

How do you think Private Practice handled the rape storyline? Please share your comments with others.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Respectfully submitted via care2 and FoxNews.

“Private Practice” airs Thursdays on ABC at 10 p.m. Eastern time.