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Working effectively with people impacted by sexual assault Arpana Vaniya and Jen Miller Fall 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Working effectively with people impacted by sexual assault Arpana Vaniya and Jen Miller Fall 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working effectively with people impacted by sexual assault Arpana Vaniya and Jen Miller Fall 2008

2 Who we are  Arpana Vaniya Intern, AVC/DOS Office Women's Studies Major  Jen Miller Student Development Educator AVC/Dean of Students Office (New Student Commons 381)

3 Why we are here today  You have already learned the definitions and laws in regards to sexual violence/violation  Our goal is to help you feel prepared to work effectively and sensitively with sexual assault survivors, witnesses, and/or alleged perpetrators

4 Why is care so important during hearings involving sexual assault survivors? “Grace”- Kathleen Hulka, Director and Producer  The story follows the lives of three women: a young aspiring ballerina, a twenty-something career woman and an elderly grandmother as they all become survivors of sexual assault. Grace is a tribute to the female spirit and its ability to triumph over violation, betrayal and disrespect.  This film was made by a student in 2007 who had two friends who were sexually assaulted during their time at a college.  ?id=10 ?id=10 ?id=10

5 Why we are here today  During the course of their college careers women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted (www.rainn.org/statistics)  Every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. (www.rainn.org/statistics)  The reality at UCR is that sexual assaults have occurred (and could occur again) on our campus

6 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police (www.rainn.org/statistics) 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police (www.rainn.org/statistics)www.rainn.org/statistics  Sexual assaults remain drastically underreported crimes  If a UCR student makes the difficult choice to report a sexual assault to the Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Programs office, we want you to feel prepared to work with the parties involved with care

7 Why sexual assaults are often unreported?  Fear of not being believed  Negative treatment/attitude by police/officials  Survivors might consider their relationship with the alleged perpetrator  Evidence collection-SART exams  Length of court process  Concern about family and friends  You can help as a member of the Student Conduct Committee to make the process a bit easier!

8 What is a sensitive crime?  “When we speak of "sensitive crimes" we are talking about crimes that require a little more sensitivity to be handled appropriately. Often these fall into the categories of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, or other incidents where there is a strong emotional element involved”

9 Why sensitivity is important for the conduct process…  The topic of sexual assault involves emotions and sometimes traumatic experiences. These are hard things to share with a big group of people  A comfortable environment will help you to get the information that you need for your hearing with minimal emotional impact on the reporting parties  Listening, offering comfort, and avoiding blaming language and/or questions is critical when working with people impacted by a sexual assault  Our own bias’ could influence our reactions to the information presented

10 A note on language  We prefer to use the term “survivor” verses “victim” when discussing a person who has been sexually assaulted  For our roles, we prefer “survivor” due to the word’s empowering connotations  Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Programs will be training you on the language that they prefer for you to use during committee reviews

11 To keep you on your toes…  A quiz

12 What are the chances that a woman will be a survivor of a sexual assault in her lifetime?  1 in a 1000  1 in a 100  1 in 50  1 in 3

13 What are the chances that a woman will be a survivor of a sexual assault in her lifetime?  1 in a 1000  1 in a 100  1 in 50  1 in 3

14 Where do the greatest number of sexual assaults occur?  Home or apartment  Dark alley  Park or beach  A car

15 Where do the greatest number of sexual assaults occur?  Home or apartment  Dark alley  Park or beach  A car

16 How long does the average sexual assault last?  20 to 40 minutes  40 to 60 minutes  1 to 2 hours  2 to 4 hours

17 How long does the average sexual assault last?  20 to 40 minutes  40 to 60 minutes  1 to 2 hours  2 to 4 hours

18 What percentage of the time does the survivor and the alleged perpetrator know each other?  10%  25%  50%  90%

19 What percentage of the time does the survivor and the alleged perpetrator know each other?  10%  25%  50%  90%

20 What percentage of sexual assaults occur in a dating situation?  10%  25%  50%  75%

21 What percentage of sexual assaults occur in a dating situation?  10%  25%  50%  75%

22 For more information regarding the information presented by the quiz…

23 College campuses A national study that polled over 6,100 women at 32 college campuses of higher education revealed:  95% of rapes on college campuses are not reported  1 in 6 women had been raped or had experienced attempted rape during the previous year  27% of the women polled experienced attempted intercourse by threat and/or force

24 College campuses (cont) In another study of acquaintance rape on college campuses, it was found that:  1 out of 9 college women had been raped  8 out of 10 survivors knew their attacker  However, less than 5% reported the crime

25 College campuses (cont) The American Association of University Women reported that:  43% of college-aged men conceded to using coercive behavior to have sex but denied that it was rape  13 times as many rape survivors are more likely to attempt suicide than are people who are not survivors of rape

26 Working with people impacted by sexual assaults can be difficult  The survivor might be confronting a friend, partner and/or family member  The people involved in the hearing might be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder  Event details might be unclear

27 Confronting people you know Continued Trauma: Because the alleged perpetrators are often known to their survivors and are often someone with whom they socialize. Survivors of acquaintance rape often have to encounter their alleged assailants after the rape. Fear of such encounters can cause increased distress and humiliation for the survivors

28 Emotional reactions  Changed relationships  Anxiety  Shock  Intense fear  Depression  Betrayal  Fundamental loss of trust  Disruption of daily life  Loss of control  Disbelief  Denial or minimization  Flashbacks  Disorientation  Guilt and self-blame  Anger  Isolation  Vulnerability  Sexual intimacy concerns

29 Post traumatic stress disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a normal human reaction to an extreme or abnormal situation. Each person has a different threshold for what is perceived as a traumatic event. PTSD is not a rare or unusual occurrence, in fact, many people experience PTSD as a result of a traumatic experience such as rape or sexual assault. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a normal human reaction to an extreme or abnormal situation. Each person has a different threshold for what is perceived as a traumatic event. PTSD is not a rare or unusual occurrence, in fact, many people experience PTSD as a result of a traumatic experience such as rape or sexual assault.

30 Post traumatic stress disorder A person may be experiencing PTSD following an event where they experienced and/or were threatened emotionally and/or physically:  show symptoms of intense horror, helplessness, or fear  experience distressing memories of the event (e.g., flashbacks, including nightmares)  regularly avoid things or triggers that remind them of the event (e.g., people, places, things, etc.)  show significant impairment or distress due to the event  show at least two symptoms of increased arousal (e.g., sleep difficulties, difficulty concentrating, hyper vigilance, an exaggerated startle response, or irritability or outbursts of anger/rage)

31 Drug facilitated sexual assaults Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault: When drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the survivor of a sexual assault

32 Drug facilitated sexual assaults Alcohol: Alcohol is the most commonly used chemical in drug facilitated sexual assaults. In large part this is due to the fact that alcohol is easily accessible and a chemical that many people use in social interactions

33 Alcohol  Alcohol is found to be involved in 84% of all acquaintance rapes.  An intoxicated partner cannot legally give consent. Intoxication does not provide a legal defense in cases of rape and sexual coercion.  Consent can not be provided when alcohol is consumed regardless of blood alcohol content (BAC)

34 Alcohol Effects on the survivor:  Ability to protect himself or herself is reduced  Impaired judgment  May not realize that a situation has become dangerous  May have trouble handling or avoiding conflict  Perceptions of others not as clear  Difficult to set limits  Ability to resist, both physically and verbally, may be impaired Effects on the alleged perpetrator:  May misinterpret the behaviors of another as sexual interest. May feel justified to force himself or herself on a drunken partner because he/she views the drunken partner as being partially responsible for whatever happens.  May become increasingly aggressive and assertive

35 Drug facilitated sexual assaults Rohypnol: A small white tablet that looks a lot like aspirin. It quickly dissolves in liquid and can take effect within 30 minutes of being ingested. The effects peak within 2 hours and may have lingering effects for 8 hours or more Effects:  Increased blood pressure  Memory impairment  Muscle relaxation  Drowsiness  Visual disturbances  Dizziness  Confusion  Unconsciousness  Nausea/aspiration on own vomit

36 Drug facilitated sexual assaults GHB: Pure GHB is commonly sold as a clear, odorless liquid or white crystalline powder. Because it is made in home labs the effects are often unpredictable. Once ingested, GHB takes effect in approximately 15 minutes and can last 3-4 hours Effects  Sedation of the body  Intense drowsiness  Hampered mobility  Verbal incoherence  Slowed heart rate  Nausea, aspiration on own vomit  Headache  Respiratory failure  Unconsciousness  Seizure-like activity  Coma, death

37 Drug facilitated sexual assaults Benzodiazepines: Commonly prescribed as anti- anxiety and sleeping medications in the United States, these drugs can be put into an alcoholic drink or soft drink in powder or liquid form. These are legal forms of Rohypnol Effects: Benzodiazepines can markedly impair and even abolish functions that normally allow a person to resist, or even want to resist, sexual aggression or assault

38 GHB, GBL, Rohypnol, & Benzodiazepines:  For all of these drugs, alcohol increases the effects  All four of these drugs have some common effects that make them appealing to alleged perpetrators. Their sedative effect teamed with the drugs’ memory impairment qualities make them a common weapon of sexual assault  They are typically odorless, colorless, and tasteless when placed in liquid (except for GBL).  5-30 minutes after ingestion, the survivor of the drugging may struggle to talk or move and may eventually pass out  At this point the drugged individual is vulnerable to assault  A survivor of such an assault may have virtually no memory of the events that occurred

39 GHB, GBL, Rohypnol, & Benzodiazepines:  Another factor that makes these drugs dangerous and difficult to detect is that they leave the body rapidly, leaving little time for detection  Rohypnol- leaves in hours  GHB- leaves in hours  GLB- leaves the urinary system within 6 hours and the blood stream within 24 hours

40 Drug facilitated sexual assaults Ketamine: A fast-acting liquid that can be slipped into drinks. It can be used to sedate and incapacitate individuals in order to sexually assault them. Ketamine causes individuals to feel detached from their bodies and surroundings so that while they may be aware of what is happening to them, they are unable to move or fight back. In addition, it may cause amnesia so that they do not remember what happened Effects:  Dizziness  Confusion  Hallucinations  Agitation  Disorientation  Impaired motor skills  High blood pressure  Loss of consciousness  Depression  Potentially fatal respiratory failure

41 Other drugs that might impact consent capabilities  Marijuana  Some prescription drugs such as “Soma,” a muscle relaxant  Sleeping pills  Ecstasy

42 Consent Consent is based on a mutual choice Consent is based on a mutual choice Consent is positive permission to voluntarily agree to receive or participate in sexual contact Consent is positive permission to voluntarily agree to receive or participate in sexual contact An individual is deemed incapable of consenting if he/she is known to be intoxicated, drugged, mentally incompetent, or below the age of 18 An individual is deemed incapable of consenting if he/she is known to be intoxicated, drugged, mentally incompetent, or below the age of 18

43 Helpful hints for working with a sexual assault survivor  Resist seeing survivors as victims  Get support for your own feelings  Be familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  Avoid “blaming language”  Don’t pry-what do you NEED to know for purpose of the hearing?  Consider your own intentional/unintentional bias’

44 Options for UCR students  When advocates meet with a student reporting a sexual assault, our role is to listen and provide options  Our role is not to make decisions for the students, but to empower them to make a full range of informed decisions  We often follow-up so that the survivor does not feel alone

45 Options for you  You may also experience a variety of feelings when working with people whom are discussing sexual violence/violation  Confidentiality is important, but taking care of yourself is also critical!  The Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Programs staff are available to serve as confidential ears  The Women’s Resource Center, Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office, and AVC/Dean of Students Office staff are available to talk with you about “situations in general” verses case specifics. We can be there to point you in the right direction towards appropriate resources  The Counseling Center is also a confidential space for you to access assistance  The Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center is a resource for survivors and for people working with survivors of sexual assault

46 Resources  Women’s Resource Center (951)  AVC/Dean of Students Office (951)  Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office (951)  Campus Safety Escort Service (951)  Campus Police (951)  Campus Health Services (951)  Housing Judicial Affairs Office (951)  Counseling Center (951)  Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Programs (951)

47 Additional resources  R.E.A.C.H. and Golden Arches Peer Educators  Sexual Assault Survivor’s Support Group  Quarterly Self Defense Course  City of Riverside Police Department,  Victim/Witness Assistance Center,  Affordable Legal Services,  Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, (951)  RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

48 Additional resources  Victims of Crime Resource Center,  National Sexual Violence Resource Center  Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention  Adult Survivors of Sexual Assault  24-hr Rape Hotline,  Domestic Violence 24-hr Crisis Line  Alternatives to Domestic Violence  Genesis Shelter,


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