Friday, January 29, 2010

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week

The Domestic Violence Center (DVC) and the Cleveland Cavaliers have teamed up to educate the community’s teens!

February 1-6, 2010

Each year since 2006, the Senate has declared the first week in February as “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week”. We will focus on promoting the idea of RESPECT and will hold several awareness raising activities!

Monday, February 1 ● 87 West Wine Bar ● 7pm-9pm
Join Mike Brown (Cavaliers Head Coach) and Carolyn Brown (Cavaliers Better Halves) for the kick-off of "RESPECT" Week at 87 West Wine Bar in Crocker Park (for adults only). Enjoy an array of delicious appetizers as well as an outstanding selection of wine and beer (Cash bar for all other alcoholic beverages). Bid on amazing auction items from the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers and help raise awareness of Teen Dating Violence and Abuse! Ticket price: $35

Wednesday, February 3 ● Harrison’s Furniture ● 7pm-9pm
Join us for the "Haute Line" Event at Harrison's Furniture located in Westlake, Ohio. Experience how fashion and furniture meld into the hottest looks for 2010! "Haute Line" will showcase high fashion and the latest trends in home furnishings. Clothing will be shown by Adesso, Knuth's, and Nicky-Nicole. Enjoy appetizers, wine & beer while learning from the experts in the home furnishings and fashion industries! Proceeds from "Haute Line" benefit DVC's 24 Hour Emergency Hotline! Ticket price: $25

Thursday, February 4 ● “Purple Power” ● All Day!
Wear your purple to work and school today. Show your support of this very important cause by wearing your favorite purple accessory, shoe or other clothing item! Purple is the nationally recognized color for Domestic Violence Awareness. Strength is in numbers!

Friday, February 5 ● Nordstrom Teen Fashion Show ● 5:30pm
Experience Fashion Week in Cleveland! Register early and reserve front row V.I.P seats! V.I.P. tickets include dinner at the fantastic Nordstrom Cafe, and a goodie bag from Nordstrom! Be the first to see what's hot for the spring and summer and get a jump start on your shopping at this exclusive teen event. Guests will be escorted to their seats by members of the St. Ignatius Football team! V.I.P. Tickets (Dinner included) - $30, Arrive at 5:30pm for dinner / General Seating—$10.

Saturday, February 6 ● RESPECT Night at the Q ● 7:30pm tipoff
Get your tickets now to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena. The arena will be lit up with purple as each guest will receive a purple glow stick upon entering. The Scream Team will perform a routine to Aretha Franklin's RESPECT and Teen Leaders from the Cleveland area will be recognized at halftime! Help us to wrap up the week of events with a great night at the Q! Purchase tickets at—ticket prices vary.

Please visit for tickets or for more information or contact Lizzie at 216.688.7229 or

All events are advance ticket sales only. Limited tickets available – buy yours today!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Continuing Education Program with the DVC

Thank you so much to Christy from the Domestic Violence Center (DVC) for coming out and speaking with us and thank you to the volunteers for attending.

It was a great evening with lots of information, discussion, and participation.

Christy discussed issues surrounding Domestic Violence and services that are offered through the DVC. She spoke about their 24-Hour Hotline, Shelter Services, Youth Programming, Justice System Advocacy, Community Support Groups, Therapeutic Services, Supervised Visitation Sessions, and all of their services are also available in Spanish.

If someone calls the hotline looking for more information about any of these resources please refer them to the DVC's 24-Hour Hotline 216-391-4357.

The volunteers who attended the event had some good suggestions and resources surrounding this topic. The books Why Does he Do That? By, Lundy Bancroft and The Macho Paradox by Jackson Katz were suggested as good reads to give a little bit more insight into the psychology of an abuser. It was also shared that Legal Aid is able to help individuals get TPOs if they fall within the financial guide lines.

Again thank you to everyone who attended this event. We got a lot of great feedback about events that people would be interested in having in the future. I look forward to meeting more of you at future events.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Incarcerated Youth At Risk In Juvenile Facilities

From RAINN and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 12 percent of youth in state-operated and large locally- or privately-operated juvenile facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff (the report estimates that about 3,200 youth are victims).

The National Survey of Youth in Custody recorded assaults on youth occurring in the last 12 months (or since their admission to the facility, if less than 12 months). According to the report, the biggest risk factor was prior abuse: 65% of those who had previously been sexually assaulted at another correctional facility were also assaulted at their current one.

According to the report, in prison culture, even in juvenile detention, after an inmate is raped for the first time he or she is considered “turned out” and fair game for further abuse. Eighty-one percent of those sexually abused by other inmates were victimized more than once, and 32% more than ten times. Forty-two percent were assaulted by more than one perpetrator.

Males were more likely than females to report sexual activity with facility staff (10.8 percent compared to 4.7 percent), but less likely than females to report forced sexual activity with another youth (2.0 percent compared to 9.1 percent). Overall, 91 percent of youth in the facilities in the survey were males; 9 percent were females.

The long-term effects of such abuse include depression, drug abuse and PTSD; if untreated, the abuse may have very long-lasting effects. While more than 100,000 people a year are helped by RAINN’s hotlines (800-656-HOPE and online at, residents of correctional facilities are less likely to have access to RAINN’s help or that of a local crisis center.

To read the entire report, visit the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From a Fellow Advocate

from Kerry Anderson, Hotline Advocate since Fall 2009

As advocates, we are generally aware of other women's issues in the world, and we all know that the image of women portrayed in the media not only contributes to the rape culture, but affects young women's self-esteem and contributes to such problems as easting disorders and other health problems. While most days, it feels like changing this is a mountain that it will take years to climb, here's some proof that change may come sooner than we think.

LONDON ( -- Marketers in Spain could be banned from advertising certain beauty products and services before 10 p.m., as the government attempts to stamp out the growing number of eating disorders and improve the mental health of young women fixated on their weight and appearance.

Ads for diet products, some beauty treatments and plastic surgery are now officially considered more dangerous for young people than commercials for alcohol, which can be advertised from 9 p.m.

The lower chamber of Spain's parliament has passed the law, and the upper chamber is expected to ratify it within weeks. It's unclear when the ban will go into effect.

The new law states: "Broadcasters cannot carry advertisements for things that encourage the cult of the body and have a negative impact on self-image -- such as slimming products, surgical procedures and beauty treatments -- which are based on ideas of social rejection as a result of one's physical image or that success is dependent on factors such as weight or looks."

"The ban is about product function rather than the content of the communication," said Alex Pallete, chief strategic officer at Lowe Group's Lola Madrid. "The goal is that no under-18s will be affected by mental issues like anorexia and bulimia. In Spain, people tend to go for non-surgical methods of slimming, like not eating or vomiting, but we have had a lot of immigration from Latin America, where plastic surgery is much more common, and their culture has influenced our culture."

Mr. Pallete said that in 2008, 7,000 ads were broadcast that now fall into the banned "body worship" categories. The beauty and hygiene segment is the third-biggest TV spender in Spain, accounting for $708 million in airtime in 2008.

While debating the 10 pm watershed for slimming products and plastic surgery, the government considered -- but eventually rejected -- a far more drastic ban that would have included all products advertised as "lite," potentially banning ads for a wide range of food and drinks like Coke Lite and light beer.

The biggest advertiser in the about-to-be-banned category is Corporacion Dermoestetica, a national chain of cosmetic surgery clinics. Mr. Pallete predicts that advertisers will follow the example of cigarettes and alcohol, maintaining their budgets but diverting the money to sponsorships, events and online. Or they may just advertise late at night.

Lola Madrid works for the government's youth institute, Injuve. Mr. Pallette said, "Teenagers are worrying more about their self-image, which can handicap their physical and moral development."

The 6-year-old Spanish government has been pro-active on many social issues, including that of skeletal fashion models. In 2007, the health ministry agreed with major fashion retailers, including Zara and Mango, that the mannequins in their stores would not have proportions smaller than a U.S. size 6. And in 2006, Madrid was the first city to ban ultra-thin models from its fashion week runways.

In another move, Spain's government this month outlawed advertising on public TV, following the lead set by France last year, as the two countries attempt to match the cultural quality and diversity of the BBC's output in the U.K.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Inspiration From Volunteer British Columbia,

Somebody did a golden deed,

Somebody proved a friend in need.

Somebody said I'm glad to give,

Somebody said that's how I live.

To be of service to your fellow (wo)man

Is great comfort to those who can.

Making the load somewhat lighter

And the outlook somewhat brighter.

To all our volunteers we wish to say,

Enjoy good health and happiness every day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Continuing Education Program for volunteers

I am writing with exciting news of the New Continuing Education Program for volunteers at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. In order to become volunteers you all completed 40 hours of training. I think this proves that you are all dedicated and excited to learn in order to best serve victims of sexual assault.

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center would like to continue to offer you opportunities to learn and grow as an advocate. We will be holding trainings throughout the year on different topics that are relevant to your work as a Hotline and/or Face to Face Advocate. We will have experts come in and speak on a different topic every session.

The Continuing education program will also allow us time to notify you of changes as they occur to the program and to answer any questions you have about these changes. It also is meant to serve as a way for volunteers to socialize with each other.

I will continue to work to provide speakers that are interesting and relevant. I would love to hear from you with topics that you would like to learn more about.

All of the opportunities will be held at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, 526 Superior Ave.,1400, Cleveland, OH 44114.

Dates have been scheduled! Put them on your calendars.

Scheduled Continuing Education Dates
January 25th 6pm
Christy will be speaking from the Domestic Violence Center

February 11th 11am
“Cricket” will be speaking on the SANE program at hospitals

March 23rd 6pm
Steve will be speaking about services provided by 211 Cleveland

Additional Dates are scheduled
April 15th
May 17th
June 16th
July 21st
Aug. 31st
Sept. 20th
Oct. 20th
Nov. 18th

We will let you know more information as more speakers are booked for those dates.

Additional Speaker Ideas
Planned Parenthood
the Board of MRDD
Police Detectives
CRCC staff
LGBT Community Center
Nuro Scientist

Movie and a Discussion

Training Review Session

Please RSVP to Sarah so that we know how many people are coming and we can plan appropriately (hand outs, snacks, etc.), and let us know what speakers/ topics you would like to hear about.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There is currently a documentary in the works, The Illusionists.

A description of the project:

The Illusionists is an English language, feature-length documentary about the manipulation and exploitation of women’s insecurities about their bodies – for profit.

From Los Angeles to Tokyo, the sale of half a trillion dollars worth of products is dependent upon manipulating women’s hidden fears and anxieties about their appearance. Through advertising and mass media, multibillion-dollar industries (most notably cosmetics, fashion, dieting, and cosmetic surgery) saturate our lives with images of idealized, unattainable beauty, purposefully exacerbating women’s insecurities, and then profiting from them, through the sale of a plethora of products and treatments.

The obsession over the pursuit of fairness, youth, and thinness for women – and the exaltation of those qualities – ultimately reveal a deep rooted fear in the power of confident, mature women and is one of the most effective weapons used by the patriarchal system to stifle women's advancement and thus maintain the status quo.

The Illusionists will explore these themes through the testimonies of sociologists, historians, scientists, authors, and regular women, in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

What do you think? Would you want to see it? Check out the website for more information on "the issues" and to check out the blog. Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Former Boyfriend Used Craigslist to Arrange Woman's Rape, Police Say

A Wyoming man is accused of posing online as his former girlfriend and soliciting someone to act out a violent sexual fantasy.

The advertisement appeared on Craigslist in early December.

"Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women," read the posting on the Internet classified advertising forum. Its purported author was a Casper, Wyo., woman, whose photo also was posted.

One week later, a man accepted the offer, forcing his way into the woman's home, tying her up and raping her at knifepoint."I'll show you aggressive," he allegedly said, according to court testimony.

In fact, authorities say, the woman had nothing to do with the ad. Instead, they say, a former boyfriend had posted it, soliciting her assault.

Click here to read the entire article from the LA Times...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Important Resource

While we are unfortunate to live in a society where domestic violence occurs, we are fortunate to have shelters available for victims to find refuge.

These shelters, however, can't often provide a safe home for a victims' or families' pets.

I was just made aware of a great resource now available:

Daisy Hill Animal Retreat and Healing Center


This service will help to place a pet in a private home if their family member is seeking to leave an abusive relationship but cannot take their pet into a shelter.

Please keep this in your records and pass it along to anyone who may benefit!

This cutey is Colby. He belong t o F2F Advocate, Janet Boehler

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From a Fellow Advocate

from Eileen Hitch, Hotline Advocate since Spring 2007

This is regarding a new FMLA bill that congress is reviewing. A special clause is dedicated to people impacted by DV, sexual assault or stalking, with time off approved for medical care, legal proceedings and attending counseling or support groups.

I'm not sure about the likelihood of this bill actually passing, but at least this type of legislation is being considered. Thought it was worthwhile to pass on....


Something benignly called “The Balancing Act of 2009″ is getting serious consideration in Congress this year. It’s really just another paid-FMLA proposal, but it has a real chance of passing this time.

To facilitate passage, a number of proposals were recently consolidated within a single bill that could bring about the most sweeping reforms since the Family and Medical Leave Act became law 16 years ago. On June 25, 2009, Representative Lynn Woolsey (D. CA) introduced the bill, which incorporates multiple expansion efforts. Taken together, these provisions could have significant implications for employers and employees alike.

Within the bill is a proposal that would essentially convert FMLA to a paid-leave statute, allowing employees to take upwards of 12 weeks of paid leave over a 12-month period for qualifying family, medical or military-exigency reasons. Here’s the way it would work:

* A federal “Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund” would be established to finance paid-leave distributions.

* Employers and employees would jointly subsidize the trust fund by contributing 0.2% of employee earnings. That comes out to an average of about $100 per employee. The fund would be managed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

* The act would expand FMLA coverage by creating new forms of protected leave for both “parental involvement” and “family wellness.” Parental-involvement leave would allow workers to participate in certain academic and extracurricular activities of their children and grandchildren, while family-wellness leave would enable employees to assist family members in attending medical appointments and to care for elderly relatives.

* The legislation contains additional provisions that would: 1) require covered employers to provide a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave per year; 2) extend protection to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and, 3) allow leave to care for a broader category of family members, which would include domestic partners and same-sex spouses.

* While the FMLA currently covers only employers with 50 or more employees, the Balancing Act would expand the coverage to those with 15 or more employees. The bill would also extend eligibility to certain part-time employees who work 1,050 or more hours
per year, a substantial reduction from the current minimum threshold of 1,250 hours per year.

Sin By Silence

This looks like a great documentary on women who are incarcerated as a result of the domestic violence they suffered. Check it out below - and also check out the "behind the scenes" look in this week's People magazine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 By the Numbers

As I wrap-up statistics, reports and files from the calendar year of 2009 I am astounded by the amount of work you've all done! Check out the following:

Number of survivors, secondary survivors and community members served through the hotline: 3,174

Number of survivors served in local hospitals and police departments: 144

Number of secondary survivors helped through F2F response: 142

Increase in the number of requests received for F2F program in 2009 over 2008: 40%

Add them all up and it's 3,460 points of service provided by the CRCC's Advocates!

So these are our numbers for 2009 - numbers you should all be extremely proud of. But take a moment to think about the people behind these numbers ...

  • The teenage girl assaulted by a friend who doesn't have anyone to believe or support her

  • The mother who is outraged that her child was assaulted and wants to seek her own justice

  • The teacher who had a student disclose to her and isn't sure what to do or where to go to help the student

  • The developmentally delayed boy who doesn't understand what the medical examination will consist of

  • The woman who was assaulted years ago by a stranger and has been dealing well with what happened until she received a letter that her perpetrator has been identified by law enforcement

  • The father who blames himself for not preventing the assault of his young children

  • The young girl who doesn't understand why her perpetrator wasn't arrested and tried immediately like on television

  • The woman confused that she can't remember anything at all that happened last night but a friend walked in and witnessed her assault

  • The elderly woman who had to reach out and hear someone's voice to help her through the night

  • and 3,451 other acts of service you've performed!

A well-deserved round of applause for all of you!

From the bottom of my heart and behalf of all those you've helped, THANK YOU!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Is Stalking Awareness Month

Each year in the United States about 3.4 million people are victims of stalking. Young adults are the primary targets; the majority of victims are 18-24 years old. Most victims know their stalker. About 1 in 4 victims experienced some form of cyberstalking.

The exact definition of stalking varies by state, but in general, stalking refers to “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear.” Examples of this behavior include:
  • Repeated undesired contact (phone calls, emails, letters, show up unexpectedly, etc.).
  • Following or laying in wait for the individual
  • Making threats to the individual or her/his family.
  • Any other behavior used to conatct, harass, track or threaten the individual.

If You Are Being Stalked You Should Consider:

  • Avoiding all contact with the stalker.
  • Informing family, friends, supervisors and co-workers of what is going on.
  • Reporting the stalking to your local police.
  • Keeping an accurate journal or log of all incidents connected to the stalking.
  • Keeping all evidence received from the stalker such as letters, packages, taped telephone messages, etc.
The impact of stalking can be profound and life altering. Individuals who are stalked often change many of their behavior patterns and have strong emotional responses to the stalking. Some responses to stalking include:
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Isolation
Stalking Laws
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have anti-stalking laws. However, the legal definitions vary. For more information about your state’s stalking laws, CLICK HERE.

The Internet is another form of communication vulnerable to abuse by stalkers. Cyberstalking can take forms such as:
  • Threatning/obscene emails
  • Live chat harassment or flaming (online verbal abuse)
  • Harassment through texting
  • Hacking and/or monitoring a victim's computer and internet activity
  • Forming a website in honor of a victim
  • Can include off-line stalking/harassments such as following a victim or actual physical contact between a stalker and his/her victim
While cyberstalking is a specific kind of stalking, the possible severity of its emotional and physical threat is similar to the fear caused by offline stalking, with the same potential consequences. As a result of their victimization, many victims have physical and emotional reactions such as:
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
  • Experiencing nightmares
  • Feeling anxious or helpless
  • Fearing for one's safety

The use of technology to stalk is increasing due to the rapid development of technology in today’s world. Like offline stalking, cyberstalking is a form of personal terrorism. Similarly, cyberstalking may precede offline stalking, sexual assault, physical violence, or even murder.

“Cyberstalking is threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications.”

Cyberstalking Laws
46 states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. New Jersey, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kentucky and the District of Columbia do not have cyberstalking laws. For more information on your state’s laws, CLICK HERE.

Prevention Tips

  • Do not share personal informaiton in public spaces anywhere online
  • Do not use your real name or nickname as your screen name or user ID. Pick a name that is gender- and age-neutral.
  • Do not post personal information as part of any user profiles (i.e. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter).
  • Use a "nonsense" password that has no relation to you as a person; use a comibnation of numbers, symbols, and letter and make sure it is at least 6 characters long. Also, try to change your password frequently and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Be VERY cautious about meeting online acquaintances in person. If you choose to meet, do so in a public place and take along a friend.
  • Make sure that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network have an acceptable user policy that prohibits cyberstalking.
  • If a situation online becomes hostile you should log off or surf elsewhere.
  • Do not share passwords to email or social networking sites with friends or acquaintances.
  • Active password protection on cell phones.
  • If a situation places you in fear, contact a local law enforcement agency.
What To Do If You Are Being Cyberstalked
  • If you are receiving unwanred contact, make clear to that person that you would like him or her not to contact you again.
  • Save all communications for evidence. Do not edit or alter them in any way. Also, keep a record of your contacts with Internet system administrators or law enforcement officials.
  • You may want to consider blocking or filtering messages from the harasser. Although formats differ, a common chat room command to block someone would be to type: /ignore(without the brackets). However, in some circumstances (such as threats of violence), it may be more appropriate to save the information and contact law enforcement authorities.
  • If harassment continues after you have asked the person to stop, contact the harasser's
    Internet Service Provider (ISP). Often, an ISP can try to stop the conduct by direct contact with the stalker or by closing their account. If you receive abusive e-mails, identify the domain (after the "@" sign) and contact that ISP. Most ISP's have an e-mail address such as abuse@ or postmaster@ that can be used for complaints. If the ISP has a website, visit the site for information on how to file a complaint.
  • Contact your local police department and inform them of the situation in as much detail as
To obtain more information on how to report an Internet crime such as stalking, harassment, or exploitation, visit the U.S. Department of Justice website Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meeting Tonight on Human Trafficking

National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness is Monday, January 11.

Come to the HM Ministry Center, 20015 Detroit Road, Rocky River, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. to learn more about human trafficking in Ohio.

For additional information, please call 440-356-5707 or e-mail

U.S. Report: Rape, Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Corrections Facilities

from Just Detention International

Bureau of Justice Statistics study exposes epidemic of abuse in juvenile facilities, underscores call for new standards

Washington, DC, January 7, 2010. A long-awaited report from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) finds that youth in juvenile corrections facilities are sexually abused at alarming rates and are victimized significantly more often than adult inmates.

A shocking 12.1 percent -- or almost one in eight -- of the detained youth who participated in the survey reported sexual abuse at their current facility during the previous year. On any given day, there are approximately 93,000 youth confined in juvenile facilities, more than half of whom are 16 or younger.

"These figures are unconscionable, and even more so when you consider that the survey did not include youth locked up in adult facilities, where many are at even greater risk for abuse," said Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of Just Detention International.

The study -- "Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09" -- is based on a survey given to 9,198 youth detainees in 195 facilities from all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The BJS report also included these findings:

  • 95 percent of youth who alleged abuse by staff reported at least one female perpetrator. Victimized youth usually endured repeated sexual abuse, often more than ten times, and frequently by multiple perpetrators.
  • 65 percent of youth who had previously been sexually assaulted at another facility also reported having been sexually abused in their current facility.
  • 80 percent of the reported abuse was perpetrated by a member of the facilility's staff.
  • Youth with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual reported being sexually abused by another inmate at a rate more than ten times higher than that of youth who identified as heterosexual.
In June 2009, as mandated by Congress, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission issued a comprehensive report on sexual violence in U.S. detention facilities. The bipartisan Commission, led by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton, found that many corrections facilities do a poor job preventing, identifying, and responding to the sexual abuse of those in their custody.

The Commission's report emphasized that sexual abuse is an especially complex problem for younger inmates, explaining that "juveniles are not yet fully developed physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally and are ill-equipped to respond to sexual advances and protect themselves."

"The BJS study confirms the Commission's findings, underscoring the fact that young people are a particularly vulnerable population needing special protections," said David Kaiser, chair of the board of Just Detention International. "Abused youth emerge from what ought to be a rehabilitative experience deeply traumatized, hindering their reintegration into society and limiting their development and future prospects."

The Commission's report includes proposed standards -- which Just Detention International helped develop -- for addressing and preventing the sexual abuse of inmates, including detained youth. By law, the Department of Justice has until June 2010 to codify final standards based on those recommendations.

"The Attorney General needs to issue comprehensive, zero-tolerance standards, and he can't do so a moment too soon," Stannow said. "Every day without them is another day in which incarcerated children are getting raped. No matter what crime a person may have committed, rape should never be part of the punishment."

The BJS report, "Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09," is available online at:

Just Detention International works to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to change ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived such abuse.

Health, Healing and Caring Nurses: A Reflection of SANE

from Joanne Maclaren, BSN, RN

If you have a few minutes, I think the above piece by a SANE nurse is an insightful look into the job they do and the challenges they face doing it. The author makes several important points that are also applicable for F2F Advocates.

A few excerpts:

The medicalization of the body is one example of how power and control is exerted by the medical discourse (Van der Riet, 1997). Being aware of such power inequities, the forensic nurse must create a space for the patient to feel believed and understood, to feel safe, and to help to them bring some control back into their life (Braen, Martin, Warfield, & Engelberg, 1985; DiVasto, 1985; Hennebry, 1995). The SANE can achieve this through adopting a caring, patient-centered approach when providing care. Examples of this include offering possible options for care, addressing the immediate concerns patients have, and offering them choice continually throughout the physical examination and care process. This further reinforces and validates the person as a whole and strives to not objectify the person by focusing solely on the physical injuries and aspects of care.

I approach each individual knowing there may be similarities in the experience, yet contextually each case is very different and the individual nuances of each patient need to be valued. Approaching care in this manner helps to maintain the patient’s autonomy and helps them to re-claim their sense of control over their own body and serves to guide the direction of care. Care becomes participatory versus being directive which is vital to begin to help restore the woman’s sense of health and healing.

As forensic nurses, we must also strive to stay aware of incongruent societal expectations of how women should act or behave pre- and post-sexual assault and reinforce for our patients that there is no right or wrong way to be. Pre-assault, prevailing societal expectations may define what we believe to be appropriate or acceptable behavior. Women who are sexually assaulted internalize what is considered “acceptable” and look for where they fell short of this and “caused” their own victimization. Classically, women tell themselves “If only I hadn’t walked in the dark alone…or didn’t drink so much…or dressed more appropriately” and so on. They believe they were a target for such violence due to the fact that they did not conform to socially acceptable behavior or actions. The SANE must help women who have been sexually assaulted understand they are not to blame for the violence which occurred against them and must help to inform patients’ understanding of health, illness and well-being (Holmes & Gastaldo, 2002). Post-assault we must also be aware of the power of language and how language can further increase the vulnerability of our patients as a result of how we document the crimes against them and through the use of labels, such as ‘victim’ when describing them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Volunteer Trainings!

It’s official! The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has scheduled dates for the Winter Hotline and Face To Face (F2F) Volunteer Trainings! Tell all of your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, classmates and others you think might be interested in volunteering with the CRCC!

The F2F Training will be held on-site at the CRCC (The Leader Building - 526 Superior #1400), and will be Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm – 9:00pm beginning Monday, February 22 thru Wednesday, March 10.

The Hotline Training will be held at the Fairview Hospital Wellness Center, 3035 Wooster Road in Cleveland. It will be Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00pm - 9:00pm beginning Tuesday, January 19 thru February 18.
Interested folks are asked to complete an application via the CRCC website. Once CRCC staff members receive completed applications, they’ll be in touch with prospective volunteers to set up a time to further discuss the volunteer opportunities.

Applications are still being accepted for both the F2F and Hotline Advocacy Programs!

Questions? Please feel free to visit the website (new information has been added to the Volunteering section) or contact Kate Sass, Face To Face Advocate, at 216.619.6194 ext. 145 or about the F2F Program or Sarah Bartholomew, Volunteer Coordinator, at 216.619.6194 ext. 116 or for information about the Hotline Training.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Life

S.H.I.E.L.D.-Self Help Initiative Every Lady Deserves LIFE.

We will stand for violence against women no more! Radio One on-air host Robyn Simone has teamed up with Community Leader Yvonne Pointer and Self Defense Instructor Sifu Peter Whitt (H.M.) for Phase I of a movement, empowering women to stand up and say, “I can take care of myself; I can defend myself and most of all I am worth more”.

On Saturday January 16, 2010 at the Zelma George Recreation Center, 3155 Martin Luther King Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio 44120, there will be self defense classes taught by Peter Whitt in partnership with instructors from Greater Cleveland and the Region. Registration begins at 9:30am with classes in session until 3pm. The classes will be in rotation formation style building one lesson upon another to complete an entire self defense routine and how to react in different scenarios.

The Imperial Tragedies were an eye opener and allowed us to come together but we must recognize that violent acts against women have been an issue in our community for years and remain so to this day. “We want women to recognize their strength, it’s our job as a community to empower each other and say no more”, says Robyn Simone of Radio One Cleveland. Join us as we come together to be pro-active and prepared as we start a new journey as women, to protect ourselves and our children, the sky is the limit and our new day begins today.

For more information please contact 216-579-1111 or email

Thursday, January 7, 2010

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Is January 11, 2010 In Ohio

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Victims are young children, teenagers, men and women.

After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons” as:
  • Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act , in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years; or
  • Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Trafficking Victims

Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of State. These estimates include women, men and children. Victims are generally trafficked into the U.S. from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. Many victims trafficked into the United States do not speak and understand English and are therefore isolated and unable to communicate with service providers, law enforcement and others who might be able to help them.

How Victims Are Trafficked

Many victims of trafficking are exploited for purposes of commercial sex, including prostitution, stripping, pornography and live-sex shows. However, trafficking also takes place as labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, sweatshop factories, or migrant agricultural work. Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to compel women, men and children to engage in these activities.

Force involves the use of rape, beatings and confinement to control victims. Forceful violence is used especially during the early stages of victimization, known as the ‘seasoning process’, which is used to break victim’s resistance to make them easier to control.

Fraud often involves false offers that induce people into trafficking situations. For example, women and children will reply to advertisements promising jobs as waitresses, maids and dancers in other countries and are then trafficked for purposes of prostitution once they arrive at their destinations.

Coercion involves threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint of, any person; any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

Victims of trafficking are often subjected to debt-bondage, usually in the context of paying off transportation fees into the destination countries. Traffickers often threaten victims with injury or death, or the safety of the victims’ family back home. Traffickers commonly take away the victims’ travel documents and isolate them to make escape more difficult.

Victims do not realize that their debts are often legally unenforceable and, in any event, that it is illegal for traffickers to dictate how they have to pay off their debts. In many cases, the victims are trapped into a cycle of debt because they have to pay for all living expenses in addition to the initial transportation expenses. Fines for not meeting daily quotas of service or “bad” behavior are also used by some trafficking operations to increase debt. Most trafficked victims rarely see the money they are supposedly earning and may not even know the specific amount of their debt. Even if the victims sense that debt-bondage is unjust, it is difficult for them to find help because of language, social, and physical barriers that keep them from obtaining assistance.

Trafficking vs. Smuggling

Trafficking is not smuggling. There are several important differences between trafficking and smuggling:
Human Trafficking
  • Victims either do not consent to their situations, or if they initially consent, that consent is rendered meaningless by the actions of the traffickers.
  • Ongoing exploitation of victims to generate illicit profits for the traffickers.

  • Trafficking need not entail the physical movement of a person (but must entail the exploitation of the person for labor or commercial sex)

Migrant Smuggling

  • Migrant smuggling includes those who consent to being smuggled.

  • Smuggling is a breach of the integrity of a nation’s borders.

  • Smuggling is always transnational.

Help for Victims of Trafficking

Prior to the enactment of the TVPA in October 2000, no comprehensive Federal law existed to protect victims of trafficking or to prosecute their traffickers. The TVPA is intended to prevent human trafficking overseas, to increase prosecution of human traffickers in the United States, and to protect victims and provide Federal and state assistance to certain victims so that they can rebuild their lives in the United States. Victims of human trafficking who are not U.S. citizens are eligible for a special visa and can receive benefits and services through the TVPA to the same extent as refugees. Victims of trafficking who are U.S. citizens may already be eligible for many benefits due to their citizenship.

If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888. This hotline will help you determine if you have encountered victims of human trafficking, will identify local resources available in your community to help victims, and will help you coordinate with local social service organizations to help protect and serve victims so they can begin the process of restoring their lives. For more information on human trafficking visit
National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What You See in Here, Stays in Here

I saw a sign inside a hockey dressing room that read "What you see in here, stays in here." Survivors live by that same rule. As a sexual abuse and domestic violence survivor, I know that keeping secrets only helps abusers. I don't expect you to keep what you read here to yourself. If there is anyone in your life who you even suspect may identify with my story, please send them this address:

There will always be someone to tell us to quiet down; to tell us we’re singing off key or that we don’t know the words; to quit showing off or keep our voices down; a neighbor to bang on their ceiling or complain to the landlord; or someone to let us know which things we should and should not talk about.

I have never understood who put those people in charge.

I had a friend in high school who could match me word for word in being loud and obnoxious. She was off key, off the wall and out of this world wonderful. She was the first person I told about being abused. We met in ninth grade even though we had gone to the same school for years. Our locker assignment pushed us together but within a week or two, I found myself telling her things that I had never before considered sharing.

What if she had told me to shut up?

for full entry, please visit

From a Fellow Advocate

from Shari Weir, Hotline Advocate since Winter 2004

I wanted to share this article that focuses on sexual assault in the military, particularly of women serving in combat. The article is long, but I found it to be informative. I was also particularly struck by this quote/statistic:

“A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, said at a Congressional hearing this year, repeating an assertion she has made a refrain in a campaign of hers to force the military to do more to address abuses.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Community Hero 2009

Community hero, 2009: Theresa Backman, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center volunteer offers help for survivors of sexual assault

from the Plain Dealer, December 31, 2009
by Rachel Dissell
To most of the people she helps, Theresa Backman is invisible.

She's a calm voice at the end of a phone line, patiently listening as sexual assault survivors seek help for what is largely an invisible problem.

For more than four years, Backman has answered the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center's 24-hour hot line faithfully during her shifts, never knowing what she would encounter.

Sometimes it's a panicked woman who has been raped and wants to know where to go and what to do.

Other times it's a person who has never revealed their trauma before but is now in search of healing.

Backman doesn't judge. She doesn't question. Her first duty is to believe.

"She just tries to do what she can to help the caller in that moment," said Wendy Hanna, director of 24-hour programs for the center.

"It's not always clear immediately what someone needs. Theresa is deliberate in what she says and does a lot of listening so she can help."

Backman, 38, a nurse who lives in West Park with her two dogs, is uniquely suited for her volunteer position.

She is a trained sexual assault nurse examiner and also has experience working with patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder. She is currently working on a doctorate in nursing practice at Case Western Reserve University.

"I think it is just part of who I am, reaching out to people in pain," Backman said.
She works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in an outpatient facility, treating patients with mental illnesses including PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She is also a captain in the Army Reserve.

She gained experience in taking crisis calls while she was a nursing student at Ohio State University.

In her spare time she volunteered for a Columbus-area suicide hot line.

"I learned to be direct and be helpful," she said.

Most of the people Backman aids will never meet her.

And she's not likely to ever find out what happened to them.

But in her 20 hours a month that she answers the hot line, she gets the satisfaction of being a voice that can start or even bolster the healing process.

"My hope is that the caller knows that the person on the other end of the phone cares about them, even though we have never met," Backman said.

"I am here to help them in their journey but they are the ones that do the work, and the work is not easy if they want to get better.

"I believe that people can recover, and I try to convey that message of hope to them."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Healthy Cookies

I found these cookies on (a disclaimer for I have not tried these but they do look good).
They look good (as good as low fat gets, I like butter). I thought some fat free recipes would be just the thing for starting off the new year. The only question is now, where do you find prune butter?

(Disclaimer: Cookies in photograph may contain un-fat-free ingredients!)


1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. Karo (light or dark)

3 egg whites

Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. In large bowl,combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in corn syrup and egg white until blended (doughwill be thick and slightly sticky). Drop by roundedteaspoon onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or just until set (cookieswill be soft when pressed). Do not overbake. Cool on rack.

Chocolate Hannukah Stars Recipe

1/4 c. Prune butter

1 c Sugar

2 Eggs worth of egg substitute

2 c. All-purpose flour

1/2 c. Cocoa

1 t. Baking powder

1/2 t. Baking soda

1/2 t. Salt

Confectioner's sugar

In a large bowl, beat prune butter, sugar and egg substitute on medium speed of electric mixer. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Cover; refrigerate dough until firm enough to handle. Preheat oven to 350 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness; cut with star-shapped cookie cutter (can use menorah, dreidel and others). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minute, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly in the center. Cool 1 minute; remove cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

With the confetti settling on the floor and the champagne glasses in the dishwasher, it's that time of year again where we make New Year's resolutions.

My list is usually pages and pages long full of incredibly specific things like "I will not let the gas light come on in my car because I am dangerously low on fuel at any point this year" or "I will no longer listen to Justin Timberlake at the gym but will instead spend the time doing something more useful like watching CNN or learning how to speak a foreign language". Yeah. I'm sure you can imagine how successful these lists are.

But here's the good news! Sarah, Kate and I sat down and each came up with one resolution for the Volunteer Programs at the CRCC for 2010. And they're goals that are relevant and highly achievable - not like the gas in my car issue. So, drumroll please ...

Sarah: I am going to start some new exciting programs for volunteers at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Including a continuing education program for volunteers! More info on that later.

Kate: I am going to debrief and support each F2F Advocate the day following their response to a hospital or police department.

Wendy: I am going to do a better job of recognizing the hard work you all do and acknowledging the time and energy you donate to survivors of sexual assault and the superior services you provide.