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UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL ASSAULT Wyoming Foundations in Victim Services 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL ASSAULT Wyoming Foundations in Victim Services 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL ASSAULT Wyoming Foundations in Victim Services 2013

2 Learning objectives Define sexual assault & prevalence Understand what a rape culture is Identify myths and how to refute them Identify Physical and mental effects Understand a victim-centered approach State and federal statutes

3 Responding Sensitively Victims are hyper-aware System can recreate every aspect of the rape - loss of control - humiliation - unknown - fear

4 Being Prepared Examine own stereotypes Victim’s perspective System not familiar You may be the first person the victim has contact with Set the tone You begin helping or hurting the victim and the case Know victim issues

5 Healthy Sexuality Exercise Take a few minutes to write down your most memorable sexual encounter or sexual fantasy.

6 Defining Sexual Assault  The use of sexual actions and words that are unwanted by and/or harmful to another person.  Anytime sex is used as a weapon to gain power and control over someone else.  Any sexual behavior in which one is forced, tricked or coerced.

7 Consent is the Key

8 What is consent? What are the elements of consent? How do you know when you have consent? – Do you have consent … dating…..had sex before…..are married?

9 Consent Defined 1. informed, freely given and mutually understood. 2. free of coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force. 3. There is no consent if the complainant is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the complainant cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, and the condition was known or would be known to a reasonable person. This includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. 4. Whether the respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the complainant may be a factor in determining consent. silence does not necessarily in and of itself, constitute consent and past consent of sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent.

10 Minnesota Statute on Drinking and Consent Mentally incapacitated: under the influence of drugs or alcohol which were given without the victim’s agreement Physically helpless: victim was asleep or unconscious, too drunk to withhold consent, or unable to communicate – and the other should have known this from the circumstances

11 Age of Consent ….is 16 as long as the person is not: – In a position of authority – Has a significant relationship with Also “mistaken age” is not a defense unless offenders is less than 10 years old.

12 What is Coercion? Words or circumstances that cause a person to fear that the other will inflict bodily harm, or confine the person. ( MN Statutes) Are there other kinds of coercion? Issues of power?, popularity?

13 Important Facts & Statistics 1 in 3 women during their lifetime About 5 to 10 percent occurs to men Child sexual abuse: 1 in 3 girls before the age of 18 Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 8 boys before the age of 18 One in four women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape during her college years 85 to 90% are acquaintance rapes 1 in 10 are reported (13 to 16%) Only 3 to 8% are false reports

14 College Women 16 to 24 raped at rates 4 x higher College women higher risk 1 in 4 - Mary Koss’s research Women who have been raped are more at risk the following semester Individuals that have been sexually abused as children are at higher risk of being raped as adults

15 Mandated Reporting Must report if the offender is – Parent, – Position of authority – Significant relationship Not all sex with, or assaults against minors are mandatory reports, even if they are a crime If not mandatory – its confidential Telling supervisor is not enough

16 Mandatory reporting examples

17 Scenarios #1 Mandatory Reporting A fifteen year old client tells you she is having sexual intercourse with her 20 year old boyfriend. When you tell her that this is illegal, she begs you not to report to the authorities. Is this a mandated report?

18 No As it relates to the boyfriend, this is not a mandated reporting situation because he does not fit into the “certain persons” category. Can you still report it?

19 Scenario # 3 An aunt of one of your 17 year old clients wants to talk to you privately. She tells you that her niece told her mother (the caller’s sister) that a coach at school touched her sexually. The mother does not believe her daughter and has refused to report to the authorities. Is this a mandated report?

20 Yes Even though it is third hand information and sketchy. You have “reason to believe”. Up to law enforcement to investigate.

21 Minors Consent /Confidentiality Generally – a parent must consent for a minor to receive medical or mental health treatment but there are exceptions. MNCASA FACT sheet - Handout

22 Why is Sexual Violence so Prevalent? History – How does that still influence our beliefs and attitudes? Inadequate Understanding of rape Power relationship of gender – Physical differences – Lack of training and skills – Behavior and emotional training – Dependence Media Myths and Blaming the Victim

23 Gender Issues Dating rituals – Who initiates – Who decides where to go – Who buys Communication Belief in Justifiable rape Role of alcohol and drugs Violence in relationships I Never Called it Rape, Warshaw

24 Alan Berkowitz Gender socialization along with personality characteristics and early sexual experiences Male socialization – Avoid acting feminine – Strive for power and control – Act tough and unemotional – Be aggressive and take risks Relationship with women and sexuality provide a sphere for the enactment and confirmation of these ideas. College Men as Perpetrators of Acquaintance Rape and Sexual Assault: A Review of Recent research, Alan Berkowitz

25 Steven Box “Thus in pursing “normal” sexual relationships, men often find themselves in a situation where a reluctant female has to be overcome, not only because that’s what ‘real’ men do, but because that’s what real women really want. ‘Normal’ and ‘coercive’ sexual encounter become so fused that it becomes possible to see rape as not only normal, but even desired by the victim.

26 Myths & Misinformation Understand that blaming the victim keeps victims silent Videos

27 Common Myths HOW TO RESPOND

28 Prevention and Blaming the Victim http://www.youtube.com/user/sexualviolence center http://www.youtube.com/user/sexualviolence center

29 YOU DECIDE You are the jury exercise

30 Educating Use analogies – Man in the business suit – Cooking/pan – Hurricane – Walking on red light Myths about men are insulting to men Going along with something to stay safe Gunned robber

31 Victim Response There is no typical response Stage One: Impact Stage Two: Outward Adjustment Stage Three: Resolution Stage Four: Integration

32 Mental and Physical Effects Self-blame Intrusive recollections Flashbacks Dreams/nightmares Avoidance of places, people, or things that recall the attack Fear of going out in public Feeling numb Crying all the time Not wanting to be touched Alcohol or drug use Suicidal ideation Difficulty concentrating Self-injury

33 Promiscuity Why? Better terms – Hyper sexuality – Sexualized self-injury – Sexualized grieving DO people express grief with alcohol? – Most of us understand this.

34 A Victim Centered Approach Social problem vs personal Perpetrator alone is responsible Peer support integral Helper is educator Self Help Model Goal is empowerment Victim maintains control of options

35 Strength-based Perspective Respectful Nonjudgmental Partnership Client’s knowledge is valued Client’s gifts and talents are emphasized Avoids labels Recognize strength of survivor to seek out services Cooperative process Praise their ability to survive

36 Helping the Victim Do: Give the victim/survivor information Allow the victim/survivor to make choices Understand the concerns and fears Don’t: Give advice Ask “why” questions say what you would have done Make promises Empty platitudes

37 What Can You Say to a Victim It is not your fault I’m sorry this happened to you You did not deserve to be raped You did the best you could You have every right to cry, scream, be angry… You will survive

38 How Do We Help Survivors Stop Blaming Themselves Make a list of “it’s my fault because” and responses Use analogies Responsibility pie Write a letter to self/friend What would they tell a friend What were their stereotypes before Understand why self-blame is common List of how the abuser had power over them List of why the abuser wanted to abuse How the abuser came to believe it was okay Child development issues – be realistic about abilities at age of abuse

39 Decisions about Reporting Why victim’s don’t report Fear of not being believed Fear of the unknown Fear of being blamed Fear of details becoming public Lack of trust in the system

40 Why Victims do Report Wanting justice Not wanting others to be hurt Feeling it is the right thing to do Unrealistic/naïve trust in the system

41 Assisting in Decision Making Provide options and information Ask about the future Ask what they think a friend should do Have them meet with an investigator Write lists of pros and cons Give them reasons other survivors report or don’t report Ask what their fears are

42 Resources http://www.legalmomentum.org/our- work/vaw/njep.html http://www.legalmomentum.org/our- work/vaw/njep.html What judges wished they had known…..


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