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BWJP Military-Civilian Advocate Resource Network Goes Public and Launches Listserv
- Information about the Department of Defense, Reserves, National Guard, and Department of Veterans Affairs systems and their response to IPV.
- Pertinent articles and research on IPV and co-occurring conditions such as combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Safe Havens for Animal Victims of Domestic Violence - An Article from Wayne Pacelle
From the Editor: Animals have long been victims of domestic violence, both experiencing the abuse, as well as keeping victims from leaving for fear the beloved family pets would be further harmed. Over the years some communities have rallied together to find options for pets, but it hasn’t always been possible to offer resources that include pets. Read the story below from Wayne Pacelle and learn more about safe havens for animals in your area.
Thanks to one dog’s heroism and a community’s outpouring of support, victims fleeing violent homes no longer have to choose between seeking safety for themselves or protecting their pets.
In a blog post this March, I told you about a dog named “Hank,” the Great Dane from Missouri who we named Valor Dog of the Year and People’s Hero in our Fifth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards for helping shield and save his owner from a violent domestic abuse attack. When Hank’s owner, “McKenzie,” sought refuge from the violence in her own home, she couldn’t find a shelter that would allow her trusted companion, Hank, to stay with her. Because of the dangerous situation, however, officials at the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, made an exception to their no-animal policy and opened their doors to the pair.
The bond between Hank and McKenzie was so powerful that it inspired the folks at Rose Brooks Center to take their lifesaving work one step further. This week they extended their humane reach into the community by opening Paws Place Pet Shelter, a new safe haven for animal victims of domestic violence. The second of its kind in the country, the facility will provide housing for up to eight pets belonging to families staying at the Rose Brooks Center.
This Wednesday’s opening celebration of the Paws Place Pet Shelter was the perfect place to honor Hank and the bond he and McKenzie share. Joe Maxwell, former Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and The HSUS’s Director of Rural Development and Outreach, presented Hank with two handcrafted sterling silver tags, a crystal statue created in the canine hero’s likeness, and a crystal trophy to commemorate his Valor Dog of the Year and People’s Hero titles.
There’s no doubt that because of Hank’s inspiring courage and devotion, there are some Missouri animals and their families who will be much safer tonight.
**For a nation-wide list of safe havens for animals and a list of pet shelters for those fleeing domestic violence, please visit humanesociety.org/safehavens.
When Prevention Techniques Fail: The Hidden Reality of Rape in College
By: Contributing Intern Hanna Love
May 26, 2012
At a glance, it seems like college campuses across the country have plenty of programs to to support survivors and prevent sexual assault within their grounds. It’s true that some prevention programs do exist and make their presence known on college campuses across the country. The problem with these programs, however, is that their primary motives are not always to address the needs of survivors. The majority of them focus on warning incoming freshmen of the dangers of sexual assault, without providing them with any real understanding of consent or the actual number of assaults that occur on their campus. The truth to these programs is that they are designed to provide students with a warning, rather than actual support.
There is no problem with colleges warning incoming students about the possibility of rape on their campus. The problem that arises from this, however is when these warnings are used to blame students who come forward with sexual assault. Because many assaults begin with behaviors that the college may deem dangerous or improper—such as consuming alcohol or engaging in consensual sexual activity— colleges often point out how students could have altered their actions to prevent their assault. Although the college may have the best intentions in warning their students, there is little that these warnings can do once a student has already experienced assault. It is at this point that “prevention” tactics start to become victim-blaming techniques.
The fact of the matter is that sexual assault is such a complex and emotionally charged issue that many colleges simply do not want to deal with it. This can be seen in college campuses across the country, as they increasingly design their handbooks and policies to simplify assault and sexual misconduct. Pomona College’s Annual Campus Safety Report—a detailed PDF designed to inform students of safety issues on their campus—is one such example of this simplification.
Although Pomona College is a liberal institution with a progressive stance on issues of sexual assault, the college’s Annual Safety Report reflects an attitude that is largely unsympathetic towards students who have experienced sexual assault. Following the policies of many other universities across the country, the college mentions acquaintance rape in its Safety Report only once. Under the tips for “General Safety,” acquaintance rape is briefly acknowledged in one short and insensitive statement—“Acquaintance Rape happens here. Learn the danger signs. Victims suffer significant life disruption.”
In this statement, the college acknowledges that rape occurs. But within this acknowledgement, there is an implication that it is student’s responsibility to “learn the danger signs” of acquaintance rape. It implies that if the student does not learn these signs, they could easily be assaulted. This statement (and the mindset that accompanies it) is problematic for several reasons.
First, this mindset implies that there are specific warning signs that can predict rape. It may be true that there are circumstances in which acquaintance rape is more likely to occur, however it is highly incorrect to assume that there are telltale signs of an impending assault. Especially with acquaintance rape, many people are assaulted in situations in which they feel secure and confident in the company of someone they know. There are no specific “danger signs” to warn someone that a person that they are friends with might possibly want to assault them. In addition to this oversimplification of “warning signs,” this mindset further implies that students who have failed to recognize these “danger signs” are partially at fault for their assault.
This is the attitude that college students across the country are forced to encounter as they come to terms with sexual assault. The colleges they attend have few policies devoted to addressing assault, and the policies that do exist are often framed in such a manner that implies the guilt or responsibility of the victim.
This lack of understanding on the part of colleges is further amplified by the insistence of the “stranger in the bushes” portrayal of rape. The mention of acquaintance rape in Pomona College’s Safety Report is actually somewhat progressive for modern college standards, as most universities choose to legitimize only assaults that fit the dominant stereotype of sexual misconduct. The majority of college campuses draft their sexual-assault prevention programs from guidelines that correspond with the “stranger in the bushes” portrayal of sexual assault. This manifests itself into using resources to teaching self-defense techniques. Women are told to dress conservatively, adhere to the “buddy system,” carry a rape whistle, and learn self-defense techniques such as “grab, twist, pull.” This half-hearted training embodies the majority of sexual assault prevention and support programs on college campuses across the country. It also reinforces the belief that it is up to students to stop their own assault, and that somehow those who are unable to prevent their assault are partially at fault for what happened to them.
Therefore, individuals who experience sexual assault on college campuses are often forced to deal with their trauma in silence, without the support of programs to aid them through the process of recovery. These survivors are caught in a bind, as the resources devoted to sexual assault on their campuses cause them to feel worse about their experience. Simply because their assault may have occurred while they were walking alone at night or while they were too paralyzed with fear to carry out their “grab, twist, pull” techniques, students are being silenced and made to feel as though they were at fault for their assault. So, as the majority of resources on college campuses are devoted to prevention techniques, those who were not able to prevent their assault are left feeling isolated and guilty within their college community.
This being said, the most important factor that should be taken into consideration when dealing with sexual assault on college campuses should be an analysis of where to allocate resources to maximize support for survivors. In this analysis, it should be noted that although prevention is important, self-defense techniques do little to prevent date or acquaintance rape—the most prevalent forms of sexual assault on college campuses. In addition to this, without a clear definition of consent provided for students, prevention is often boiled down to techniques that make survivors feel as if they are to blame for their attack.
A college’s allocation of resources for sexual assault—if not put forth to educate students on the definition of consent—should be devoted to support the individuals themselves who experience sexual assault on campus. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, almost one third of all rape survivors develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in their lifetime. One in ten rape victims still have PTSD today. This could include a large portion of students on college campuses that may be living with a disorder they know little about, and have little options in which to treat it with.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in survivors of sexual assault, sometimes referred to as Rape Trauma Syndrome, is accompanied by flashbacks of the survivor’s experience, in addition to symptoms like “triggers” that cause physical and emotional reactions in the survivor, and a sense of prolonged hyper-alertness. In addition to these symptoms, Rape Trauma Syndrome may also bring about social withdrawal in the survivor, numbness, mood swings, dissociation, dramatic changes in sleep and eating patterns, as well as other life altering consequences. The prevalence of PTSD in survivors is striking—and is something that needs to be treated and given
serious attention to in order to enable survivors to carry on with their day-to-day responsibilities. With a focus on prevention techniques, there are few resources devoted to treating PTSD on college campuses.
In addition to PTSD, there are other serious consequences of rape that need to be treated to ensure the safety of survivors. According to the studies mentioned above, 30 percent of rape survivors experience at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. This being said, rape survivors are 13 times more likely than non-crime victims to attempt suicide in their lifetime. In addition to this, rape victims are 13.4 times more likely to have major alcohol problems and 26 times more likely to have serious drug abuse problems. Furthermore, the most damaging statistic of all may be that 69 percent of these rape victims are too afraid to seek support for these issues because they believe that they will be blamed for their abuse.
So, as colleges devote their funding to preventing assault and teaching self-defense techniques, existing survivors are largely left alone to cope with the daunting after-effects of rape. In the college climate, especially— in which sexual assault is so increasingly prevalent— a fundamental shift in policy and attention is needed to direct funds away from self-defense and victim blaming techniques to include actual support systems for survivors. With rape so inherently intertwined with feelings of isolation and depression, it is vital that survivors are provided with access to counseling and support groups on campus to allow them to readjust to day-to-day life and to continue to excel in their educational pursuits.
In the fight against sexual assault, is vital to note that prevention is only one portion of the support needed. While some individuals may rely on self-defense to avoid rape, there is an entire host of survivors who were unable to prevent their attack and are now forced to deal with their trauma and depression alone. So although prevention is key, it is vital to recognize that it is not the only solution. Prevention techniques do not always work, and survivors cannot simply be ignored or blamed for being unable to stop their assault. When attempting to prevent assault, it is important not to leave those who have experienced it behind. Looking to the future is always beneficial, but it should not be done at the expense of those who experienced trauma in the past. It is time for the climate of abuse to change—a transition must occur from simplified prevention techniques to an inclusion of systems of support for survivors of sexual assault. Otherwise, it may be too late for the women who are forced to deal with depression and PTSD without any means to seek support and recovery.
Written By: Hanna Love, Contributor/Intern
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Fox Pundit Says Women In The Military Should ‘Expect’ To Be Raped
Sherry Murphy: (http://www.cultureofabuse.com/?p=3799 , http://www.cultureofabuse.com/?p=3133 sent me a link to this article ), sent the following article, which is disturbing to say the least. Thank you Sherry for sending this along! If anyone needs resources or help in the military, please visit this link: http://www.cultureofabuse.com/?page_id=3212
THINK PROGRESS | SECURITY
By Ben Armbruster on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm
The Pentagon announced new rules last week easing the ban on women serving in combat. While conservatives like Rick Santorum are a little uneasy with the news, the announcement only formalizes military practices that were already taking place.
But Fox News contributor Liz Trotta’s commentary on the matter took the issue to a whole other level. She’s not really concerned about the “controversy” surrounding the Pentagon’s announcement. For Trotta, the issue is having “women once more, the feminist, going, wanting to be warriors and victims at the same time.” She cited a recent Pentagon report that violent sex crimes in the military have increased over the last 6 years and said women should “expect” it, decrying more levels of bureaucracy to support women who have been “raped too much“:
TROTTA: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminist.
And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. … So, you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.
To his credit, Fox host Eric Shawn tried to talk Trotta down a bit. “You certainly want the people fighting the war to be protected from anything that could be illegal,” he said. But Trotta wouldn’t have it. “Nice try Eric,” she said, “This whole question of women in the military has not been aired properly, and it’s the great sleeping giant.” Watch the clip via Media Matters:
Just to clarify, Trotta complained about government supporting women who have been “raped too much,” a statement seeming to imply that there is an acceptable amount of rape one can or should endure in order to prevent more layers of bureaucracy from swooping in to help out.
CaledoniaPatch: Domestic Violence Bill Passes, Veterans Bill Not Far Behind
Two bills authored by State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) will soon become state law.
By Heather Asiyanbi
February 15, 2012
To help veterans and their families with death and disabilities benefits, a bill authored by State Sen. Van Wanggaard incorporates two parts of the federal HEART (Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax) Act into state law.
Under the new legislation, service members who die on active duty and who are enrolled in the Wisconsin Retirement System will be treated as if they are employees of the state. This change allows families to collect both the employee and employer contributions to WRS.
The second change makes it easier for WRS service members who become disabled on active duty and can’t return to their jobs to qualify for disabilit benefits.
“This is a simple change that recognizes the important service of veterans,” Wanggaard said in a press release. “The Wisconsin HEART Act honors veterans while preserving the integrity of the Wisconsin Retirement System.”
Both Wanggaard and Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) will hold a Veterans Listening Session from 10 to 11:30 am this Fri., Feb. 17, 2012 at Veterans Home at Union Grove, Boland Hall, 21425 G Spring Street, Union Grove.
Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John Scocos will also be in attendance. The listening session is open to veterans and their families.
“One of the most important parts of my job is to listen to my constituents,” said Rep. Vos in a joint press release. “We’re currently considering several important bills that will have a positive impact on our veterans and I would like to get their input on the legislation.”
A new law to help protect victims of domestic violence will be signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in the coming weeks.
Also authored by Wanggard, the new law puts teeth into 72-hour no-contact orders by not just upping the fines and potential jail time, but elevating how violators will be charged.
Currently, abusers who don’t follow the order face a $1,000 civil forfeiture. Under the new law, violators can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor which carries penalties of up to nine months in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines. Repeat offenders could find themselves up against a felony.
The law also prohibits the accused from having any contact with witnesses to the alleged abuse.
“The risk of domestic violence is most prevalent in the days following an initial attack,” Wanggaard said in a written statement. “By strengthening the penalties for violations we are more likely to prevent such acts from recurring, preventing further abuse.”
After passing both the Senate and the Assembly by bipartisan votes, the new law only needs Governor Scott Walker’s signature.
Article Review: It’s Not A Woman’s Job “Not to Get Raped”
Article review on Zerlina Maxwell’s http://www.ebony.com/news-views/stop-telling-women-how-to-not-get-raped
I recently read the article, “Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped: Our Victim Blaming Tactics Do Little to Prevent Sexual Assault” by Zerlina Maxwell. This article critiques how our society handles the issue of rape prevention. Typically, women are taught to be mindful of multiple points. For example, women are told that in order to “keep themselves out of danger” they must: watch what they drink and know what is inside their drinks, dress in a way that does not cause too much attention and only hang around people they know and trust. Also, women are encouraged to know a variety of defense mechanisms, such as carrying pepper spray and self-defense.
However, the truth is that this is just unrealistic. To think that women who take these measures, will be able to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of a sexual assault is very naïve. While this may make people feel safer about themselves and their surroundings, the facts are still there. A woman can be sexually assaulted whether she has been drinking or is completely sober. Even if a woman is fully clothed with multiple layers on she can still be sexually assaulted. And if she performs all the moves learned in a self-defense course she can still be sexually assaulted.
Therefore, in her article, Maxwell emphasizes the point that men and boys should be the ones targeted when it comes to anti-rape campaigns and movements. It is because of a rape culture and a society that violence against women is somehow acceptable. The idea that males should be dominant and in control of everything in life transcends into their relationships with women. Thus, this idea of men being dominant and the ones in power in a relationship can often lead to violence in that relationship.
It is important to highlight that sexual assault does not have to be done by a stranger and that; in fact, a person who knows the victim well commits most sexual assaults. This means that boyfriends, husbands, friends, and even acquaintances are more likely to sexual assault someone than a random stranger.
It is almost crucial to teach “how to stop rape” as opposed to “how to avoid rape.” Men and boys should learn how to respect women. Media can be a big influence on how people act in a society. Therefore it is important for us as a society to distinguish between what is morally right and what is a respectful, what is an appropriate way to behave towards women as opposed to popular television portrayals like the Jersey Shore and other reality programs which portray women as sexual objects, whom men disrespect constantly.
I agree with Maxwell that by not aiming all the information at one sex, we as a society will become closer to ending the horrific problem of sexual assault. It is important for both sexes to be aware of what constitutes sexual assault and that there are serious consequences for this unlawful act. I believe that by raising this awareness and by teaching boys and men what the true definition of sexual assault is and how not to commit this act it will immensely help our society.
Written By: Alexis Myers, Contributor/Intern
Culture of Abuse Magazine