Knotty Musings

Ideas, philosophies, and evil plots to take over the world through love hatched here.

I Am Enough

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

Remove the Nots

Remove the Nots

Friday, October 2, 2009

October is Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Be Safe!!!

This information came in a newsletter from my college, which provides all of us at all of our campuses with self-defense training. This is a long e-mail but the information is invaluable and as a domestic violence/sexual assault victim's advocate, I know that all of this information is pertinent. Please take the time to read it and keep it in mind to help keep yourself safe.

As a DVSA advocate, this information is invaluable. This information came in a newsletter from my college and is a timely reminder.

How does rape affect the victim?

Victims of rape experience tremendous emotional trauma and pain. They may suffer problems
eating, difficulty sleeping, flashbacks, drinking or drug use, lack of trust in people, sexuality
issues, feelings of anger, guilt, or shame. Survivors need calm, reassuring, unconditional support.
Victims need to know that the rape was not their fault. With support and time, the rape will be
integrated into their life.

What to do if you have been raped

• Seek medical attention from a hospital emergency room or your own physician. If you
need transportation, call 911.
• Do not bathe, douche, change clothes, brush your hair or teeth, or apply medication.
• Take a change of clothes to the hospital.
• Call the YWCA 24-hour hotline and ask for a medical advocate to
accompany you to the hospital.
• Even if you don't report the rape to a law enforcement agency, it's important to talk to
someone about the rape to begin to recover.
• The YWCA's Women Against Violence Program offers immediate help. The 24-hour
hotline provides information and support. Volunteers can meet you at a hospital,
accompany you through the legal process, and just listen. Sexual assault survivor groups
are available to both teens and adults.

Date Rape Drug Symptoms

The following are indicators that you may have been-drugged to facilitate a sexual assault:
- You were under the influence of a drug (legal or illegal) during the sexual assault.
- You had just one or two drinks--too few to account for the high level of intoxication you
- You felt "strange" then suddenly "very drunk".
- You became heavily intoxicated, very rapidly, within a period of five to fifteen minutes.
- You woke up eight or more hours later, uncertain about what happened, but believe you may
have been raped because of vaginal soreness, or other signs of sexual activities.
- You were told that you were given Roaches, Roofies, Mexican Valium, R-2, GHB or "easy
- Witnesses told you that you suddenly appeared drunk, drowsy, dizzy, confused with impaired
motor skills and impaired judgment.
- You have symptoms of amnesia.
- You remember a sequence of "cameo appearances" in which you recall waking up, possibly
seeing the assailant have sex with you, being unable to move and then passing out again. These
memories may be associated with a loud noise or pain.


Alcohol is the most commonly used drug to facilitate sexual assault. There are also several other
drugs used for this purpose, and testing for them can greatly impact evidence in sexual assault
cases. Remember that "date rape drugs" are not always slipped into a drink--there are many cases
where they are taken voluntarily and then used to facilitate a sexual assault later.

If you think you have been drugged and want to make a report to the police, go to the hospital as
soon as possible. If you have to urinate or vomit before you get there, collect the contents in an
airtight container and take to the hospital with you. The sooner you get there after the assault, the
better chance they will still be able to detect it. Testing for these drugs is not a routine part of the
sexual assault exam, so you will need to request it. This is not covered under the expenses of the
sexual assault kit, so you may have to pay to have this testing done.

Rape and Sexual Assault Statistics

75 to 80 % of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone that the victim/survivor knows
- Sexual assault is violence where sex is used as a weapon
- 1 out of every 3 women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime
- Shock, fear, denial, anger, depression, confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, are all normal reactions
to trauma.

About Incest/Child Sexual Assault

- One in every four children will be sexually assaulted before his or her 18th birthday;
approximately 3/4 will be girls.
- In two out of three child sexual assaults, the assailants are immediate family relatives or family

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports, an annual statistical
compilation of crimes reported to law enforcement agencies across the nation, in 1997, there
were 96,122 reported forcible rapes.

An estimated 70 out of every 100,000 females in the country were reported rape victims in 1997,
a decrease of 1 percent from the 1996 rate, and 13 percent from the 1993 rate.

The 1997 National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes both reported and unreported
crimes, found that despite a decline of 7 percent in the nation's crime rate in 1997, rates of rape
and sexual assault did not decline.

The National Violence Against Women Survey, the first-ever national study on stalking,
sponsored jointly by the by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, found that in the 12 months preceding the study, 0.3 percent of all women
surveyed experienced a completed or attempted rape, and 1.9 percent experienced a physical

Using a definition of rape that includes forced vaginal, oral, and anal sex, the National Violence
Against Women Survey found that 1 of 6 U.S. women and 1 of 33 U.S. men has experienced an
attempted or completed rape as a child and/or as adult. According to estimates, approximately
1.5 million women and 834,700 men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner
annually in the United States.

The National Crime Victimization Survey found that in 1996, more than two-thirds of
rape/sexual assaults committed in the nation remained unreported.

More than 52 percent of all rape/sexual assault victims were females younger than 25.

Injury sustained by females during rapes and/or sexual assaults affected whether law
enforcement was notified. Females who suffered physical injury in addition to the injury suffered
from the rape or sexual assault itself reported 37 percent of those victimizations; while 22
percent of rapes and sexual assaults without an additional physical injury were reported.

Reducing the Risk of Acquaintance Rape

80% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

Rape is never the victim's fault. And no one has the right to force you into sex against your will.
Often, women picture a rapist as the stranger in the alley with a ski mask and a weapon. Women
don't often picture a neighbor, study partner, co-worker or date as a rapist. Yet we know that
80% of rapists are these or other men that the victim knows. While there is no one best strategy
to prevent acquaintance rape, there are preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of being
sexually assaulted by someone you know.


- Avoid isolated settings. When you begin dating a new person, go to public places or go with
other people.
- Clearly express your expectations and limits to your date.
- Be suspicious if drugs or alcohol are being forced on you. These can be used to decrease your
defenses and reactions. They can also impair your judgment.
- Carry enough money to take a cab home if you have to get away. Carry change in case you
need to use a pay phone.
- Tell someone the name of your date and where you are going before your date.
- Pay attention to warning signs such as being very demanding, talking in degrading ways about
you or women in general, being irrationally suspicious or jealous, or touching you when you've
said "no".
- Make an assertive refusal-hurting his feeling or your own embarrassment are less important
than your own safety.
- Do not let your date intimidate you. If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and get away
from him.
- Trust your feelings. Gut instincts are often a sign of potential danger.

- Stay around other people.
- Avoid accepting rides from new acquaintances.
- Again, be suspicious if drugs are being forced on you. These can be used to decrease your
defenses and reactions and impair your judgment. If you choose to drink, bring your own
beverage and monitor how much you consume.
- Go to parties with friends that you trust. Make arrangements to watch out for each other and
meet up periodically to make sure that you are all okay.

Substance related sexual assaults have been happening for a long time. The newer drugs, like
rohypnol and GHB are especially dangerous. They can take away your ability to fight back, or
even call out for help, and your memory of what was done to you. Mixed with alcohol, they can
kill you. Both rohypnol an GHB are easily dissolved in drinks and take effect quickly. There are
precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of being a victim of substance facilitated rape.
Possible Physical Effects of GHB and Rohypnol: Intoxication, Impaired Judgment, loss of
inhibition, Dizziness, Confusion, Hallucinations, Drowsiness, Amnesia, Vomiting, Respiratory
Problems, Tremors/Seizures, Unconsciousness, Coma and Death.

- Don't drink beverages you don't open yourself.
- Don't share with anyone.
- Don't take a drink from a punch bowl.
- Don't drink from a container that is being passed around.
- Bring your won drinks to parties.
- If someone offers you a drink from the bar, accompany that person to the bar to order your
drink, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself.
- Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a
phone call.
- If you realize your drink has been unattended, discard it.
- Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance.
- Appoint a designated sober person when you go to parties or bars. Make a plan to meet up
periodically to make sure everyone is all right. If a friend appears disproportionately intoxicated,
passes out and is difficult to awaken, is having problems breathing or is behaving in a
uncharacteristic way, get medical help.

Try to stay calm so that you can gather information and make decisions. Draw attention to
yourself - scream, yell "fire" or "help". Resist as long as it is safe to do so. Claim to be sick
pregnant have a venereal disease of to have AIDS. If you are assaulted, do not shower, change
clothes or douche until you make a decision about reporting to the police or going to the hospital.

If you think you may have been drugged, make sure the hospital knows so that they can test for
the drugs. You may request a female officer. While you will be encouraged to talk to the police,
you have the right to obtain medical assistance and not talk to the police.

REMEMBER: You are not trying to win, you are trying to survive. If you have been assaulted,
there are resources available to help.

Reducing the Risk of Sexual Assault

Every Two Minutes, Another Woman is Raped.

Rape is never the victim's fault. No one consents to a rape, and no one willingly cooperates with
a rapist. While there is no one best prevention strategy for all situations, there are preventive
measures that can reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted. Each of the women and each
situation is unique. You can help yourself by thinking through the following options and
deciding which ones might work for you.

At Home

Install dead bolts and window locks. Don't leave doors and windows unlocked. If you sleep with
windows open, lock them open with the opening too small for a body to climb through.
Ask for identification before opening your door. Check the identification of repairmen. If it's a
stranger asking for help, don't open the door. Give directions through the door. If he needs help,
make the call for him.

Don't give out personal information, including number of people in your household over the
telephone. List only your initials and last name on your mail box and in the phone book.

When a wrong number is dialed to your residence, do not give your name and number. Ask the
caller what number he was dialing and advise him that he is incorrect.

When away from home at night or if you expect to return after dark, leave an inside light on in a
room and draw the shades. Remember to leave an outside light on as well. If you arrive home
and find a door or window or signs of forced entry, do not enter. Go to the nearest phone and call
the police.

If you let someone into your house and have second thoughts, pretend you are not alone -
mention a family member or friend who is sleeping or is about to return.


Be alert to your surroundings and other people. Stay in populated, well-lit areas.

Don't walk alone at night. If you must walk alone, advise a friend of your route and estimate time
of arrival/return. If you feel in danger, walk, jog, or run toward people of traffic. Draw attention
to yourself by yelling, screaming, etc. If you are being followed, go to a house with lights on or
to the middle of the street. Make a scene.

If a driver stops you near the street or in a parking lot, avoid getting near the car. Do not get into
the car.

Have direct eye contact with men or women approaching you. Respond immediately and assertively to
questions or stateents they make. These behaviors prevent you from being identified as an easy

On campuses, avoid short-cuts through empty buildings, vacant lots, or areas that are poorly lit
or hidden by shrubs and trees.

In Your Car

Have your car keys in hand and ready to use. Park in well-lighted areas whenever possible.
Check your car, front and back seats before entering.
Lock your doors even in daylight.
Keep gasoline in your car so you won't become stranded.
If you are being followed in you car, don't drive home. Go to the police.
If signaled for assistance by someone on the road, drive to a phone and call the police to summon
help for the individual.

If your car breaks down, stay in your car with the doors locked. Ask people who stop to call the
police, sheriff, or state patrol.

Separate your house keys from your car keys when you leave keys with parking attendants or
auto repair people. Don't put your name or address on your key chain.

If You Are Attacked

Try to stay calm so you will be able to gather information and make decisions.
Evaluate the situation for possible ways to escape. If one method doesn't work, look for another
escape opportunity.

Draw attention to yourself if there are other people around - scream, swear, yell "fire" or "help",
break a window, etc.
Resist as long as it is safe to
do so. If resistance is too dangerous, stop resisting.
Claim to be sick, pregnant, have a venereal disease, or to have AIDS.
Act hysterical, insane, or mentally incapacitated.

If you are assaulted, do not shower, change clothes, or douche until you make a decision about
reporting to the police or going to the hospital. You may request a female officer. While you will
be encouraged to talk to the police, you have the right to obtain medical assistance and not talk to
the police.

Remember: You are not trying to win, you are trying to survive.
If you are assaulted, remember that there are resources available to victims/survivors of assault.

What To Do If A Male You Know Is Raped

Rape is a traumatic experience for victims and it takes time to recover. Recovery from rape is
affected by the support or the lack of support from family and friends. Immediately after the
assault, you can help by:

- believing him and listening to him.
- knowing what to expect and helping him to understand what is happening.
- accepting his feelings and recognizing his strengths.
- communicating compassion and acceptance.
- encouraging him to make decisions that help him to regain control.
- treating his fears and concerns as understandable responses.
- working to diminish his feelings of being isolated and alone.
- holding realistic expectations, especially when he becomes frustrated or impatient.
- helping him identify resources and support persons.
- being yourself and standing by him.
The things most needed by the victim at this time are gentleness and acceptance. To positively
affect his recovery, there are many things that you should and should not do:

- Refrain from asking questions about the physical details of the rape. Allow him to discuss such
issues only when (or if) he is ready.
- Reassure him that he is not responsible for being raped. Let him know that you do not equate
the attack with bad judgment or weakness.
- Never imply that he may have enjoyed the experience.
- Encourage him to discuss any beliefs and self doubts he has about being raped when he is
ready. Help him put the blame where it belongs...on the perpetrator.
- Allow him to regain control by making his own decisions. Even asking simple questions that
provide him with a choice, such as, "Would you prefer it if I drive?" or "Do you want something
to eat?" will help him regain a sense of control.
- Assure him that he is not alone and that your relationship with him will remain intact.
- Respect his wishes for confidentiality. He alone should decide with whom and under what
circumstances to discuss the rape.


- Do not tell him that you will "get" the rapist--this will only cause him to fear for your safety.
- Do not encourage plans for retaliation against the rapist. This could place him at additional risk
of injury or serious legal problems.
- Do not let your anger about what happened shift attention away from his needs to yours.
- Do not cause him to feel that he is imposing an emotional burden on you.
- Do not direct your anger toward him, even if he seems unresponsive to you.
- Do not ask questions that even hint that he is to blame. Avoid questions that begin with the
word "Why." Examples of questions to avoid include "Why did you go there?" "Why didn't you
yell?" "Why did you talk to him in the first place?"
- Do not make decisions for him or demand that he follow a particular course of action.
- Do not tell the victim that everything is all right when it is not all right. Avoid minimizing the
gravity of what has happened because it suggests that you cannot deal with it.
- Do not touch or hold him without asking his permission, or unless he shows signs that such
comfort is welcome.
- Do not try to lift his spirits by making jokes about what has happened.
- Do not tell him you know how he feels. Only he truly knows how he feels.
(Adapted from If He Is Raped: A Guidebook for Parents, Partners, Spouses, and Friends,
McEvoy, Rollo, and Brookings, 1998.)

Rape Myths

Myths are attitudes and beliefs that are prejudicial, stereotyped, and false, BUT are widely
accepted. Three Categories of rape myths exist:
1) Blaming the victim
2) Excusing the perpetrator
3) Justifying the rape

Myth #1: The motivating force behind sexual assault is sexual desire.

Rape has nothing to do with sexual attraction. It is about power and control, humiliation, and
degradation. Sexual violence is the avenue used to achieve these goals. One of the oldest victims
at the YWCA was a 90-year-old woman and the youngest victim was a 6-month-old baby. The
common characteristic between these two victims is vulnerability. Rapists target people they
view as vulnerable. Both males and females can be rape victims.

Myth #2: Sexual assaults are perpetrated mostly by strangers outside at night (i.e. parking
lot, back alley, behind bushes, or deserted area).

This is the stereotype of rape and does not describe the typical rape. In 86% of all rapes, the
victim knows their offender. A perpetrator can be a boyfriend (57% of all rapes occur in the
context of a date), a friend, relative, neighbor, or other acquaintance. Almost half of all rapes
(42%) occur in the victim's own home.

Myth #3: Physical violence is always involved with a sexual assault. The victim will have
bruises on their body if they were really assaulted.

Most rapes do not involve a high level of physical violence. Psychological strategies (i.e.
intimidation, emotional blackmail, pressuring, threats, bribery, lying, and/or manipulation) are
the most common techniques used by perpetrators. Most perpetrators will not utilize physical
force until psychological strategies have failed. Most victims do not walk away with bruises,
cuts, or torn clothing. Victims often do not look "battered."

Myth #4: During a sexual encounter, a person can become carried away and unable to
control his or her actions. Rapists cannot stop themselves once they become aroused.
Yes, men are capable of stopping. They CAN STOP if they care about or respect the other

Myth #5: You can tell simply from another person's actions or way of dressing that she or
he wants to have sex with you.

You can never assume what someone wants according to his/her appearance. It is an insult to
assume that men have no self-control. An attractive person does not compel someone to "attack"
him/her. They may be attracted to someone but that does not mean they have to act on it.

Myth #6: Some people ask to be raped or sexually assaulted and are at fault for whatever

People may make poor judgments but no one ever DESERVES to be a victim of sexual assault.
Rape has nothing to do with circumstances or the victim's reputation and/or appearance.

Myth #7: Women make up accusations of rape against men to get revenge.

False reporting is less than 2% (no different from other crimes). Rape is tremendously

Myth #8: Rapists are severely disturbed people.

Perpetrators may test higher on aggression and their tendency to use violence. Generally, rapists
test "normal" on psychological testing.

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