Healing from child sexual abuse (CSA) can be a lifelong journey. As national TA providers, we get lots of questions from adult survivors of CSA who are looking for referrals, resources and answers to some challenging questions.
Since releasing the TA Guidance, Birth Doulas and Shelter Advocates: Creating Partnerships and Building Capacity [21 p], and hosting a webinar on Trauma-Informed Birth Support for Survivors of Abuse [1 hr 24 min], the NRCDV has received several TA questions about how advocates can support pregnant survivors accessing domestic violence related services. One of the NRCDV staff moonlights as a birth doula, or childbirth/labor companion, and she offers the following advice:
A requestor recently contacted the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) asking for resources and ideas to develop a training for student-professionals working in campus residence halls. The goal was to review basics but also challenge students to move to the “next level” in providing an empathetic response to sexual assault disclosures.
While limited research exists regarding the prevalence of gender based violence within the Deaf community, it is known that Deaf individuals experience violence at significant rates. Findings from a computerized American Sign Language survey suggest that deaf adults who use sign language experience notably higher rates of intimate partner violence than does the general population (Pollard, Sutter & Cerulli, 2013). Similarly, data from sexual assault service providers (both Deaf and hearing) suggests that sexual assault is a significant problem in the Deaf community, although many providers do not see Deaf clients presenting with sexual assault issues (Obinna, Krueger, Osterbaan, Sadusky & DeVore, 2006). This is because Deaf survivors experience profound isolation and lack of options in seeking help. Services are generally unavailable to this group in hearing agencies. Moreover, disclosure to formal support services about abuse may be hindered by the intimacy that exists in the Deaf community (Obinna et al., 2006).
Rape Crisis of England and Wales, an umbrella organization for the network of independent rape crisis centers in the U.K, contacted NSVRC recently to discuss the goal of developing a national Sexual Assault Awareness Month. They were interested in how the U.S. version of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) came to be and what the primary goals and challenges are in planning a national, month-long event.
Interestingly, the idea for SAAM was actually born from Take Back the Night events that started in England. These first awareness-raising marches took root in U.S. communities as the women’s rights movement swelled. By the late 1980’s there was a broader push for a national, organized effort. This led to an informal poll of state sexual assault coalitions by the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) to determine when to have a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week. A week in April was selected and by the late 1990’s, advocates and activists had expanded activities to last throughout the month.
In planning for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the 2014 Campaign on healthy adolescent sexuality, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) heard from folks across the country that they love the idea of healthy sexuality for sexual violence prevention, but the school districts in their area just wouldn’t let them say the word “sex.” While it may be a real puzzle, it’s the reality that many preventionists face.