1 A Painful Truth: A Retrospective of a Decade of Sexual Violence
2 MISSION STATEMENT MISSION STATEMENT Building healthy relationships,families families, and communities free from sexual, domestic and and interpersonal violence. 2008
3 Table of Contents Preface iii Executive Summary iv Introduction Where Does Sexual Violence Happen? In Religious Institutions In LGBTQ Populations In the Disabled Community In the Deaf Community In the Elder Communities In Prisons In Dating and Acquaintance Relationships In College In High School and Middle School In Cyberspace In Immigrant Populations In Human Trafficking In The Millitary In War In Poor Communities In Homeless Populations In Gangs In Marriages A Decade of Successes and Setbacks Statistics Hide The Real Story The Media Legal System Supportive Services for Victims and Coordinated response An Overview of Best & Promising Practices The Next Decade In Closing Acknowledgements table of contents i
4 Michelle, Voices Over Violence Members of the Students Together Organizing Peace (STOP) Program ii preface
5 Preface For ten years, Peace Over Violence has brought Denim Day in LA to the Los Angeles City Council, raising awareness and dispelling myths about sexual violence. Each year Patti Giggans and her team bring a rape survivor to share her (or his) experience by telling their survival story to the City Council, and this presentation is one of the rare moments when you can hear a pin drop in the Council Chambers. This year, Denim Day USA was launched, and more than 600,000 people from coast to coast participated in awareness raising activities. Through Denim Day and many other programs, Peace Over Violence has educated young people, elected officials, community organizations, companies and their employees about the many types of sexual violence, and has improved services and understanding for survivors. The research presented in A Painful Truth: A Retrospective of a Decade of Sexual Violence details progress and setbacks over the last ten years. The report outlines the wide reaching nature of sexual violence, and identifies groups of individuals who may be at greater risk. Ten years ago, no one would have grasped the scope of vulnerability of children, teens, people with disabilities, the homeless, women in the military, immigrants, LGBTQ, and victims of sex trafficking. Now that we understand where and how sexual violence is occurring, we need greater commitment to address and prevent it. Another significant area of progress has been the use of DNA profiling to identify and prosecute rapists. Biological evidence provides a powerful tool to link unknown suspects with crimes. The passage of Proposition 69 in 2004 has expanded the database of offenders, and the effectiveness of DNA evidence has grown exponentially as that database grows. The challenge now is to clear the backlog of untested DNA evidence in thousands of rape kits stored by LAPD and police departments throughout the country. Testing this evidence will help to ensure that each crime that can be solved with DNA is tested and suspects captured. Hundreds of crimes can be prevented if repeat offenders can be taken off the streets by providing the necessary resources to test DNA evidence. The tireless efforts of Peace Over Violence have raised awareness and brought resources, assistance and comfort to all affected by sexual assaults. Violence prevention requires a partnership between direct service providers, law enforcement, schools, advocates, survivors, elected officials, and community organizations. I have been proud to be a partner in this effort, and look forward to continuing this work in the next decade. Jack Weiss Los Angeles City Councilmember preface iii
6 Executive Summary 2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of Denim Day in LA, a campaign to promote awareness about sexual violence, as well as the national launch of Denim Day U.S.A. Ten years ago, Patricia Giggans, executive director of the nonprofit social services agency Peace Over Violence, heard about the acquittal of a rapist by an Italian Supreme Court judge. The judge ruled that the 17-year-old victim must have helped take off her tight jeans, therefore consenting to sexual intercourse with the rapist, who was her driving instructor. At the time, a group of California legislators were outraged. Led by then Assembly member Gloria Romero, they responded by wearing jeans to bring awareness to other policymakers in Sacramento. Officials in the City and County of Los Angeles along with Peace Over Violence joined the awareness campaign and declared the first Denim Day in LA in Indeed, much has changed in 10 years. A decade ago we didn t know: How many boys and girls had been sexually abused by clergy; How many teens and college youth were being assaulted by their dates; How many inmates were afraid to come forward to report sexual assaults in our jails and prisons; How many women were sexually assaulted in the US military; How poverty and homelessness is connected to sexual violence victimization, and How to use DNA evidence as a public safety tool to prosecute and prevent sexual violence by incarcerating repeat offenders. Now we know, but we are still learning. And the biggest lesson gained from reviewing the history of sexual violence over the past decade is that there are unique and often isolated populations that face enormous amounts of sexual violence. Those most at risk include: college, high school and middle school students; immigrant, poor and homeless women; members of the military; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities; individuals with disabilities; and prisoners. Additionally, it is worth noting the prevalence of date and acquaintance rape; 70% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows. iv executive summary
7 Today, progress has been made in moving the issue of sexual violence out of the shadows. Because the issue infiltrates all sections of our society our homes, our school, our prisons, and our military there is greater attention on the part of District Attorney offices, law enforcement, health providers, the media, medical professionals, governmental agencies, educators and advocates. Policy makers and civic leaders now recognize the societal benefits of preventing violence in terms of lower health care costs, increased job productivity, and reduced prison population, among other factors. It is time to acknowledge the pervasiveness of sexual violence and reduce this trauma that impacts every sector of our lives. Peace Over Violence offers several recommendations to enhance services for victims and prevent sexual violence. Review and critique community response to sexual violence. Recognize that men and boys are victims too. Increase funding for sexual violence intervention programs especially Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART), rape crisis centers and counseling services. Increase crime lab staff with a sufficient number of trained analysts, and increase the number of detectives assigned to work and investigate sexual assault cases. Process the backlog of DNA Rape Kits. Educate internet users to be aware of safety methods and concerns. Pursue state of the art sex offender management & treatment. Educate the media and other stakeholders about sexual violence and the myths that continue to permeate society about victims/survivors of sexual violence. Maintain available, reliable research and statistics on the impacts, incidence and prevalence of rape. Engage men and boys as allies. Reward innovation in prevention programs. Continue to raise awareness among all communities, but especially among those at greatest risk of sexual violence. Support survivors. executive summary v
8 A Painful Truth: A Retrospective of a Decade of Sexual Violence Written and presented by Peace Over Violence, Spring introduction
9 Introduction For a decade Peace Over Violence as part of the anti-sexual violence movement along with other organizations has spread awareness about sexual violence through Denim Day. Denim Day In LA and now Denim Day USA is a sexual violence awareness campaign launched as a response to the acquittal of a rapist. The Italian judge found that the 17-year-old victim must have helped take off her tight jeans and therefore she consented to have intercourse with the rapist, her driving instructor. In protest to the judicial decision, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans. California legislators heard about this protest and organized by then Assembly member Gloria Romero in solidarity with the Roman legislators brought awareness to Sacramento by also wearing jeans. Peace Over Violence s Executive Director, Patricia Giggans saw the story and made it an annual event at Peace Over Violence (formerly LACAAW) and in Los Angeles. The first Denim Day in Los Angeles was held in April This year marks the tenth anniversary of Denim Day in Los Angeles and is the first year of the national launch of Denim Day U.S.A. During that time, we have learned even more about how sexual violence is overwhelmingly pervasive in our society. Ten years ago we did not know or did not want to know how many boys and girls had been sexually abused by clergy. We did not know how many immigrants were trafficked into this country for the sex industry, forced labor and domestic servitude. We did not know or did not want to know how many teens and college youth were being assaulted by their dates. We did not know how many inmates were afraid to come forward to report sexual assaults in our jails and prisons. We did not know how many women and men were sexually assaulted in the U.S. military. We did not know how to use DNA evidence to prosecute and prevent sexual violence by incarcerating repeat offenders. For decades organized women s groups and their allies have worked to end violence against women focusing on sexual and domestic violence. From the early activism of the feminist movement, the United States has seen a plethora of new laws, protective protocols, and crisis response centers develop to help victims and prosecute perpetrators. The change in our nation s response to sexual violence has been one of the success stories of the feminist movement. Unfortunately, as this paper will demonstrate, our work in responding to and preventing sexual violence is not done. The previous ten years have been critical in improving communities, states and the nation s response to sexual violence and have provided ground-breaking advancements in prevention. However, sexual violence is still rampant in society and damaging myths and stereotypes continue to influence everything from prevention education in the classroom to prosecution of rapists in the courtroom. This brief provides an overview of sexual violence in different populations and within various institutions, surveys some of the advances and setbacks of sexual violence awareness, and makes recommendations for the next decade. Through our research, we have discovered that sexual violence is affecting a variety of institutions: our schools, our places of worship, our homes, our military, and our prisons. The next ten years must include specialized responses to unique communities, as well as a critical review of institutions that continue to ignore and perpetuate, sometimes by commission and sometimes by omission, sexual violence. We are still learning about the scope and the depth of the problem, but one thing we do know is that sexual violence affects almost every family, directly or indirectly, in every community in our nation. We know that women and girls organize how they live their lives around their most intimate levels of fear. We know that sexual violence knows no boundaries, no borders. The painful truth is that sexual violence is everywhere. introduction 2
10 Where Does Sexual Violence Happen? The biggest lesson learned from reviewing the history of sexual violence in the past ten years is that there are unique and often isolated, vulnerable populations that face enormous amounts of sexual violence. This section focuses on these populations and their experience of sexual violence. In Religious Institutions: In the past decade the uncovering of sexual violence in religious organizations has become a disturbing reality. According to a study of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the US, released in 2004 by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, roughly 4% of priests serving between 1950 and 2002 in the U.S. have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor. 1 The Catholic Church has been heavily criticized for failing to adequately deal with abusing clergy members, oftentimes moving them from parish to parish, where they continue to commit crimes against minors. It has long been a common practice among the Catholic Church to refer abusing clergy for psychological help instead of reporting incidents to the police. In 2004, William McMurry, a Kentucky lawyer, sued the Vatican, on behalf of three sexual abuse survivors, for organizing cover-ups of sexual abuse cases involving the Catholic Church. 2 And in 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to restitution payments of $660 million to hundreds of people with claims of sexual abuse by clergy. 3 While the situation with the Catholic Church held the public s attention through national headlines, no religious group is immune to this problem of sexual abuse. In LGBTQ Populations: In the past ten years there has been more focus on sexual violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) communities. Sexual violence is more common among LGBTQ hate crimes assailants may use rape to punish victims for what they view as their sexual transgressions. 4 A survey of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults showed that 41% reported being a victim of a hate crime after the age of In same-sex rape, myths still abound. Many incorrectly assume that homosexual males rape males; however several reports have stated that the majority of male rapes are perpetrated by heterosexual males. 6 Only in recent years have LGBTQ communities and the experiences of victims of sexual violence in those communities become a public concern. Studies are just now bringing to light the unique experience of sexual violence and the multiple barriers for these victims, such as a lack of culturally relevant services and how hard it is for LGBTQ victims to report these crimes that can force them against their will to reveal their sexual orientation or sex identity Catholic News Service. USA Today, Vatican enjoys foreign immunity in abuse case. Attorneys Present $660 Million Clergy Abuse Payout, Gregory Herek, et. al., Psychological Sequelae of Hate crime victimization among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(2), Herek, Scarce M and Rubenstein WB. Male on Male Rape: The Hidden Toll of Stigma and Shame. Perseus Publishing, where does it happen?
11 In the Disabled Community: Women with disabilities, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class, are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate of two times greater than non-disabled women. For those persons with developmental disabilities, the risk of abuse or assault is 4 to 10 times as high as it is for others. 7 People who commit these assaults perceive people with disabilities as easy targets, and often, perpetrators are family members, caregivers or family friends who repeat their abuse because their victims are not able to report the crimes against them. Individuals who have developmental and physical disabilities and live alone are especially vulnerable to strangers. They are less able to physically defend themselves, less able to hear a perpetrator enter the home and less likely to have anyone in the home to interrupt the assault. Individuals who are mentally challenged have an added vulnerability to assaults because they are so trusting of others. 8 Additionally, individuals with disabilities are frequently perceived as less reliable witnesses in court, and when victimized by violence they face myriad physical and attitudinal barriers, which limit accessibility to services. Historically, as a result of failed interventions for people with disabilities, women are repeatedly victimized and revictimized. In the Deaf Community: Nearly 85% of deaf persons are born to hearing families. These individuals are often perceived as unable to tell and are therefore especially vulnerable for repeated victimization both as children and as adults. A 1994 survey by Deaf Life Magazine reported that nearly 85% of those responding stated that they had been sexually abused as children by family members or family friends or by someone employed at the local school for the Deaf which they attended. A serious lack of direct services for victims of sexual assault in the Deaf community compounds the victimization. Often those who try to report are faced with huge communication barriers, including lack of qualified interpreters at police stations and hospitals. Many immigrants who are Deaf do not use ASL, do not read or write in any language and, most certainly do not lip-read English. While the ADA requires that police, hospitals, courts, and other service providers provide interpreters they often attempt to communicate by writing, using a family member to interpret, or have a signer in place of a certified interpreter. It is the communication barriers that most often prevent the victim of sexual assault who is Deaf from reporting or seeking services Sobsey, D. Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities. Baltimore, MD., West Virginia Foundation for Rape and Informational Services available at Stop Prisoner Rape, available at org/en/factsheets/problem%20of%20prisoner%2 0Rape.pdf. Stop Prisoner Rape, available at org/en/factsheets/problem%20of%20prisoner%2 0Rape.pdf. Stop Prisoner Rape, available at org/en/factsheets/problem%20of%20prisoner%2 0Rape.pdf. In Elder Communities: The incidence of elder sexual abuse is unknown. However, a survey by Teaster et al. (2000) listed five types of elder sexual abuse, namely: stranger/acquaintance assault; abuse by unrelated care providers; incestuous abuse; marital or partner abuse; and resident-to-resident assault in elder care settings. Elders are less likely to report and less likely to seek counseling when the abuse is perpetrated by a family member or caretaker. Sexual abuse can range from sexual exhibition to rape, and, although adults who are ill, frail, disabled, cognitively impaired, or depressed are at greater risk, even those who are strong and healthy can find themselves at risk. 9 In Prisons: The last decade has seen rise in the awareness of prison inmate rape. Local and national studies have only begun to reveal the sexual abuses in our nation s prisons. One study found that 25% of women in a prison facility said they had been pressured into sex while incarcerated. 10 Another study suggests that nearly 20% of male prisoners have been pressured or coerced into sex by other inmates and jailers, and that 10% have been raped. 11 While fear of retaliation prevents many incidents from being reported, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that in 2006 more than 6,500 inmates in adult prisons and jails filed reports of sexual violence. 12 where does it happen? 4
12 Prisoners also have a high rate of victimization before incarceration which points to the importance of trauma treatment. Many studies discuss the progression of victim to perpetrator. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) is the first United States federal law passed dealing with assault of prisoners. PREA requires the gathering of national statistics; development of standards by a National PREA Commission that would be binding on prisons and serve as guidelines for states to confront the problem. In Dating and Acquaintance Relationships: Acquaintance rape (between people that know each other) and date rape (rape between people in a dating relationship) are the most common types of rape. Seventy percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows; this includes relatives, partners, friends, and acquaintances. And 9 out of 10 of date rapes go unreported. 13 In the last decade the terms date rape, acquaintance rape, and teen dating violence have become recognized categories of sexual violence. This is due in large part to the education and awareness campaigns organized by sexual violence victims advocates. Now, these terms are accepted and used widely, even if individuals do not understand the prevalence of these attacks. In College: A recent LA Times opinion piece suggested that campus rape is a thing of the past and is not being reported because it is not happening. 14 This could not be further from the truth. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about three percent of college women experience a completed and/or attempted rape during a typical college year. 15 And over 20% of women will be raped during their college career. 16 They also found that fewer than 5 percent of completed or attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement. Most of the time victims did confide in a friend but did not tell family or officials. The reasons victims gave for not reporting include not wanting their family and others to know, a lack of proof that the incident happened, and fear of being treated hostilely by police. 17 Perhaps what is most worrisome about a suggestion that sexual violence is not happening on campus is that such a statement serves to further silence victims, deter them from reporting the incident, and increases the public blaming and shaming of the courageous victims that do come forward. The California Campus Sexual Assault Prevention law (Oropeza 2005) requires colleges and universities to provide all entering college freshman and transfer students information on sexual assault prevention education during campus orientation. The law requires community colleges, California State Universities, and University of California campuses to adopt and implement written policies for responding to the sexual assault of a student or staff member on or around campuses. It also requires the campus, in collaboration with campus-based and community-based victim advocacy programs, to provide educational and preventive information to students during regular student orientations and on their websites. This legislation is a step forward for prevention of sexual assault. College-aged women are at extreme risk for sexual assault, especially during their first year in college. One in six female college students report a rape or attempted rape during the preceding year and being raped in college is the leading reason that women do not return to college after the first semester. Prevention education and self-defense classes for this age group will help to prevent and reduce the risk of sexual assault on campuses across California. Thanks to this legislation, and other federal legislation such as the Jeanne Clery Act, and the Campus Sex Crimes Protection Act (2000), parents and students have the right to more information, notification and support regarding a sexual assault and sexual offenders on campus. In High School and Middle School: As media attention has focused on youth violence on school campuses, such as school shootings, other forms of youth violence, such as teen dating violence and sexual violence have been largely ignored. Increasing attention has been Date Rape Stories and Media coverage, Associated Content. Heather Mac Donald, What campus rape crisis? Promiscuity and hype have created a phony epidemic at colleges. Los Angeles Times, Editorial/ Opinion Section (February 24, 2008). Justice Department s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 2001; Fisher et. al., Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at Bonnie S. Fisher, Francis T. Cullen, Michael G. Turner. The Sexual Victimization of College Women. 5 where does it happen?
13 paid to what constitutes consent in a sexual relationship and what is sexual coercion, however this has been mostly do to recent high-profile cases of teacher-student relationships. The sexual violence that teens experience in their intimate relationships and among peers continues to go unreported and understudied. It is estimated that violence in teen relationships echoes that of adult intimate partner abuse. A national study published by the Harvard School of Public Health (2001) found that 20% of female students in the 9th through 12th grades reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence, or both, from a dating partner. Sexual coercion among youth, the use of threats, drugs/alcohol, and/or manipulation to engage in sexual behavior, is a serious form of sexual violence that often falls below the radar of violence prevention and crisis intervention when working with teenagers. Although studies in this area are limited, it is clear from outreach to teenagers that sexual coercion is widespread in universities, high schools, and even middle schools. Sadly, most youth do not understand sexual coercion as a form of abuse and often confuse threats and pleas with romantic love Crime/cybersafety.pdf Ibid. Raj, A., & Silverman, J. (2002). Violence against immigrant women: the roles of culture, context, and legal immigrant status on intimate partner violence. Violence Against Women, 8(3), Raj & Silverman, Nina Berenstein, An Agent, a Green Card, and a Demand for Sex, New York Times (March 21, 2008). Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States: International and Domestic Trends Author(s): Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Co-Principal Investigators: Janice G. Raymond, Donna M. Hughes, Project Co-ordinator: Carol J. Gomez, available at: catw/readingroom.shtml?x=16939&aa_ex_sessio n=5b28177b13b768279f f590. In Cyberspace: In research conducted by the University of New Hampshire and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children it was discovered that one in five children ages received a sexual solicitation over the internet in the past year, and only 25% of those victims told their parents about the approach. 89% of solicitations occurred in either chat rooms or Instant Messaging. 18 One in thirty-three youth was asked to meet the solicitor somewhere, was contacted on the telephone or sent regular mail, money or gifts. In an age where young people turn more and more to the internet for much of their information and for social contact, perpetrators no longer need to lurk in parks and malls to have virtually unfettered access to vulnerable and susceptible children and teens. The internet has made it easier for sexual predators to contact potential victims. Cyberspace also hosts a tremendous market for sales and exchange of sexually exploitative images of children. Internet sales of child pornography generate $3 billion dollars annually through as many as 100,000 websites. 19 In Immigrant Populations: Immigrants face multiple barriers and hardships that are only being recognized over the past ten years. While there is a scarcity of research on both the prevalence of sexual assault within immigrant communities and how immigrant status affects a woman s risk for assault, recent studies have shown that 30% to 50% of Latina, South Asian, and Korean immigrant women have been sexually or physically abused by an intimate male partner. 20 These numbers are significantly higher than that of the general population of women in the United States. 21 Immigrant survivors of sexual assault face a number of barriers to seeking help. These include: fear of deportation, language barriers, misinformation about U.S. legal system, and fear of seeking government help. 22 A recent article in the New York Times by Nina Bernstein reveled that immigrants seeking citizenship are being sexually coerced and abused by immigration officers. 23 One woman was offered a green card in exchange for oral sex and an agreement to have sex with an immigration agent. In Human Trafficking: It is estimated that 600, ,000 individuals are trafficked across global borders annually, with 50,000 women and children trafficked into the U.S. for the sex industry each year, primarily from Latin America, countries of the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. 24 Human trafficking ranks third in organized crime activity after the arms and drug where does it happen? 6
14 trades. Individuals are trafficked through force, fraud, and coercion and are held as slaves, forced to work in agriculture, sweatshops, restaurant kitchens, as domestic servants and in the sex industry. Most victims of trafficking are sexually abused by their captors and have no access to services unless they are somehow able to escape their traffickers/pimps. Once a part of the sex industry these women are treated as slaves, sexually and physically abused by clients, and have no access to services unless they are able to some how escape their holders/pimps. In The Military: Thirty-three percent of women and 6% of men in the military have been sexually harassed. 25 Over 500 sexual assaults have been reported by members of the military while they were stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, or Bahrain during the current Iraq War. 26 These sexual assault survivors lack many of the protections their civilian counterparts are afforded such as: the right to privacy, to be treated with respect and dignity, to a rape shield law, the right to adequate access to emergency services, and the right to make their own childbearing choices. Of all the veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (over 60,000), 22 percent of women suffered from military sexual trauma, which includes sexual harassment or assault, compared to 1 percent of men. 27 Recently, to address these concerns the U.S. Army implemented a Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program (SARPP). Through this program the Army provides for a victim advocate, some level of reporting confidentiality, and awareness programs on sexual violence prevention. Although some flaws still exist in the program, it is a step in the right direction, as the Army attempts to promote sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes. 28 In War: Rape has been a tool of war since wars began: used to intimidate the enemy, as revenge and as reward for the troops. Rape during wartime was seen as an inevitable by-product of war and the abuse of women s bodies were seen as collateral damage. Ethnic conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda, Burma, Sierra Leone, etc. where civilian populations are targeted have seen the tragic development of the use of sexual violence as an instrument of terror and ethnic cleansing on a grand scale. Rape in war is a growing problem even though the United Nations now recognizes rape in wartime as a crime against humanity. Sexual and domestic violence continue to effect the lives of these women in these areas even after the wars are over. The violence of war is prologue to continued violence committed on the bodies and in the lives of women. Currently, the situation in The Darfur region of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is tragic where thousands of women and girls have been raped. Eve Ensler and V DAY and others have used their celebrity status to bring awareness to this African tragedy. Former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, in a report from the United Nations declared, Sexual violence is a human rights violation and a global public health problem. 29 In Poor Communities: In the past ten years, poverty and socio-economic status has been connected to sexual violence victimization. Research currently being conducted by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) shows an undeniable, complex, and often cyclical connection between poverty and sexual violence. 30 The institutional discrimination and disempowerment of those living in poverty is exploited by rapists who know that these individuals are less likely to report such crimes, or when Sexual Harassment Of Women In Military Up One- Third Of Military Women Surveyed, And 6 Percent Of Men, Have Suffered Sexual Harassment, Comments 18, WASHINGTON (March 14, 2008). Quote from Anita Sanchez, of the Miles Foundation, available at Randi Kaye and Ismael Estrada, Female veterans report more sexual, mental trauma; Expert says women afraid to report sexual harassment for fear of retribution, CNN, March 19, 2008 (Denver CO). Dunbar Rape Demands Answers to Complex Questions, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, where does it happen?
15 they do, are less likely to be believed or deemed credible. 31 For example, one study shows that people with a household income under $7,500 are twice as likely as the general population to be sexual assault victims. 32 Women in poverty are more likely to be dependent on others for survival, and thus more vulnerable to sexual and other types of coercion. 33 In Homeless Populations: Homeless women face enormous amounts of sexual violence both in their past and while living on the streets. Ninetytwo percent of homeless mothers had experienced severe physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, with 43% reporting sexual abuse in childhood and 63% reporting intimate partner violence in adulthood. 34 In another study, 13% of homeless women reported having been raped in the past 12 months and half of these were raped at least twice. 35 Homeless women without children are at an even higher risk of sexual assault because these women are more likely to sleep outside (as they do not have children) and do not fear the intervention of child protective services. 36 Even when compared to the sexual violence experiences of housed low-income women, the experience of homeless women includes multiple sexual acts and tends to be even more violent Ibid. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1996; as stated in Dunbar Rape Demands Dunbar Rape Demands Browne, A Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence. Journal of American Medical Women s Association. 53(2): 57-64; from www. endabuse.org. Wenzel, et al., Zugazaga, Stermac & Paradis, 2001; and see No Safe Place, available at: Doc.php?docid= /ai_n Cal. Penal Code cumentviewer&documentid=32701 In Gangs: Gangs use sexual violence and intimidation as a method of control. In particular, gangs have been known to use rape as an initiation technique. 38 Two recent incidents highlight the interconnectedness of sexual violence and gang violence. In Kansas, a fourteen year-old girl reported to law enforcement that she was raped as part of her initiation into a female gang. 39 In Pico Rivera, California a thirteen year-old girl was gang raped by six teenage boys while sixteen others watched and cheered as part of a members initiation ritual. 40 On the streets this is called getting sexed in, and it is generally unreported sexual violence. For a woman, being initiated through sexual violence does not necessarily result in her being accepted into the gang culture; instead she becomes the gang s whore. Unfortunately, these victims though they may call a rape hotline generally refuse to seek help from law enforcement and wish to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. It is not unusual for young male gang members to force their girlfriends to become pregnant when they are as young as 12 or 13 years old. If the young men do not imagine themselves living past the age of 18, they may see this as a way to continue another generation and to carry on the legacy of their gang. A lot of these young mothers disclose that they were prohibited from using any type of birth control and that they were threatened by their boyfriends to have sex and carry their babies. In Marriages: Spousal rape (also called marital rape) is forced sexual intercourse between married couples. For many years it was impossible for a husband to be convicted of raping his wife, as no legislation existed that recognized this as a crime; a husband had the right to demand sexual intercourse at any time. In fact, California only recently amended the definition of rape to include spousal rape in Even though most states now consider spousal rape to be a crime, it is extremely difficult to prove and often states spousal rape laws include specific barriers such as a shortened time for reporting the assault, a requirement of force or threat of force, or a requirement that the accusation be corroborated by other evidence. 42 Domestic violence and sexual assault service providers have begun to collaborate to address the intersectionality of sexual and domestic violence. where does it happen? 8
16 A Decade of Successes and Setbacks The past 10 years have continued to uncover the pervasiveness of sexual violence. It infiltrates all sectors of society our homes, our streets, our schools, our prisons, our churches, and our military. What steps forward and backward have we made in the past decade? This section focuses on the successes and setbacks in data statistics, media coverage, the legal system and intervention. Statistics Hide The Real Story: Some statistics suggest that sexual violence is on the decline, or perhaps more accurately stated, the number of reported cases of sexual violence is decreasing. Because rape is one of the most underreported crimes, it is difficult to determine the accuracy of this decline. The FBI estimates that only 37% of all rapes are reported to the police; the U.S. Justice Department has an even lower estimate of reported rapes or attempted rapes, at 27%. The U.S. Justice Department s National Crime Victimization Survey, which purportedly captures offenses that have not been reported to the police, found that rape has been dramatically declining for decades. 44 It has been reported that the number of rapes in the US has decreased by more than 85% since the 1970 s. 45 This same study found that rapes reported to law enforcement have declined by 25% from 1992 to The actual number of rape and sexual assault remains unclear. Often what are not incorporated into statistics are the hotline calls that come into the rape crisis centers; nor are the depth and length of time needed by rape survivors for supportive services and help in healing. In FY there were 17,368 rape crisis hotline calls in California as reported by the Office of Emergency Services (OES) in Sacramento. Survivors may have been victims in the recent or in the distant past. The trauma of rape is felt for years, decades for a lifetime, and, so, service providers frequently see multiple years of victims asking for services. As we enter into the next ten years of sexual violence prevention, it is important to recognize and discover all the barriers that victims face in reporting sexual violence as well as in healing from the trauma. If the last decade has taught us anything, it is that sexual violence is affecting every facet of our society and preventing sexual violence requires an examination of all sectors and communities. The Media: In today s media culture, which has grown far beyond traditional broadcast and print media to include hundreds of independent television and radio outlets, the internet, a proliferation of blogs and social networking sites, survivors of rape often face a second victimization as their stories become fodder for info-tainment and public commentary David A. Fahrenthold,, Statistics Show Drop In U.S. Rape Cases Many Say Crime Is Still Often Unreported. Washington Post (Monday, June 19, 2006; Page A01). Id. Id. 9 a decade of successes and setbacks
17 Survivors may be portrayed as sympathetic or unsympathetic victims according to their perceived credibility or the circumstances of the event or how the facts of their story are revealed by the press. They are frequently criticized, blamed and held responsible for the assault. Although all states have rape shield laws whose purpose is to protect victim s prior sexual history and turn the focus on the character and history of the perpetrator in the courtroom, journalists and defense attorneys conduct ardent searches to dig up incriminating and embarrassing personal information about the victim, which is used to discredit them. This is especially true in cases involving allegations of sexual violence against well-know people and celebrities. In high-profile sexual violence cases lawyers and public relations experts started to call victims or alleged victims accusers, as a way of calling the victim s credibility into question and casting doubt onto the assertion of assault. While rape shield laws are in place to protect survivors sexual history, reputation, and past conduct from being disclosed in the courtroom, no such law extends to media coverage of such alleged information. A second victimization by the media acts to deter survivors from coming forward. 47 Dean Kilpatrick, Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center in Charleston, South Carolina, likens the high-profile rape cases involving Kobe Bryant and the Duke University lacrosse players to possible drops in rape reporting. He thinks that the re-victimization experienced by victims after the public scrutiny over their sexual histories may be deterring rape survivors from coming forward out of fear of their own re-victimization. 48 For all the legal advances in what evidence is presented during trial, the threat of a trial by media continues to intimidate and silence victims. Legal Systems: Great strides have been made in changing the legal system and providing legal protections for victims of sexual violence. Before the 1970 s, rape was the only sex crime recognized by law. Only males could be charged with rape, females were the only victims recognized by law, and rape was limited to vaginal-penile penetration. 49 Now, the term sexual assault has been recognized in all the states and includes many forms of abusive behaviors. Most state laws have been extended to criminalize nonconsensual sex with intoxicated, disabled, same-sex and acquaintance victims and other offenses that prior, narrower rape laws excluded. 50 Many, but not all, states use the phrase sexual assault. Only in the past ten years have states begun to recognize that sexual assault of men and boys is a problem. Many states have recently amended their criminal codes to include men as victims in their definition of sexual assault FAQ:RapeShieldLaws927. index.html. Crooks & Baur Males, LA Times, Isley P., & Gehrenbeck-Shim, D. (1997). Sexual assault of men in the community. Journal of Community Psychology, 25 (2), The National Center for Victims of Crime. Rape shield laws are statutes or court rules that vary from state to state to limit the information regarding victims sexual histories, past conduct or reputations from being introduced during a sexual abuse case, as to include only that information which directly pertains to the case. These laws were introduced, in part, to increase the likelihood of victims coming forward, as many victims feared the common re-victimization they experienced in rape prosecutions when their sexual histories were brought in to the courtroom and used to discredit them. 52 The past ten years have also seen an increased focus on laws that protect children and criminalize sex offenders. For example, Megan s Law allows the public to view information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders on the internet. This information was previously only available by visiting police stations or by calling a toll free number. This law was named after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a known sex offender who lived across the street from her family s home. 53 Also, Jessica s Law, a Florida state law introduced in 2004 after the rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford by a previously convicted sex offender, increases the minimum sentence of sex a decade of successes and setbacks 10
18 crimes against children less than 12 years old to 25 years along with lifetime monitoring of such perpetrators. 54 Today, 33 states have adopted some version of Jessica s Law. The federal version of this law, Jessica Lunsford Act, is awaiting passage. Federal law requires adults and some juveniles convicted of a variety of crimes that involve sexual abuse to register their addresses with law enforcement and are proscribed from living in certain areas like close to schools and parks. However, registration and residency laws have resulted in lost offenders, increases in the number of transient offenders (up 40% in California alone) and rapidly dwindling appropriate housing for offenders everywhere. 55 Some criticism asserts that the requirements are overbroad in scope and overlong in duration, there are more than 600,000-registered sex offenders in the US, including individuals convicted of non-violent crimes such as consensual sex between teenagers, public urination and prostitution. The public seems to believe that everyone on a sex offender registry is dangerous. Sex offender management and treatment is definitely an area in need of continued development and refinement. California s Proposition 69 is the model DNA all-felon convicted offender data bank law in the nation. California now has over one million profiles from convicted felons in the state s DNA data bank and is the third largest data bank in the world. 56 DNA profiles from crime scenes are compared to those in the state s data bank and the national FBI data bank through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). 57 More offender profiles are being added every day. Those profiles hold the key to solving some of our most heinous crimes murders, rapes and child molestations. These are the crimes that hurt us the most; crimes that cost society the most. In 2007, there were 2141 cold hits in California. Having the most comprehensive offender DNA data bank law in the nation means expanding its use in California to solve more crimes and better protect the public. Ideally, DNA samples from unsolved violent crimes should be processed immediately, thereby eliminating the current long delays which typically last several months. This goal should apply with particular urgency to unsolved sexual assault cases where identifying serial perpetrators is often an issue. Rape kits and other evidence from such heinous cases should be sent to the crime labs within 48 to 96 hours for immediate DNA testing. Timely DNA analysis will revolutionize the way violent crime is fought. The innocent will be quickly exonerated, and dangerous criminals will be identified before they claim more victims. DNA evidence has become central to the successful legal prosecution of sex crimes committed by non-acquaintances. DNA rape kits are composed of evidence collected after sexual violence incidents that contain DNA samples in semen, blood, and/or hair. These kits have led to countless successful prosecutions and often can prevent future sexual violence by convicting serial rapists and repeat offenders. In 2003, the President established a 5-year, over one billion dollar initiative to improve the use of DNA evidence in the criminal system. 58 In 2002, the Los Angeles County District Attorney s Office and The Los Angeles County Sexual Assault Coordinating Council (LACSAC) established September as DNA Awareness Month, to spread awareness and support for this important technological advance that helps prosecute sexual assault offenders. Even with national attention, additional funding, and a wide-spread interest in DNA evidence, there are hundreds of thousands of unprocessed DNA rape kits sitting in law enforcement freezers throughout the nation. 59 In Los Angeles alone, there are nearly 7,000 unprocessed rape kits in storage. The next ten years must include a plan to process these kits in order to prevent future sexual violence House Bill 1877 (2005) session/index.cfm?bi_mode=viewbillinfo&mode= Bills&SubMenu=1&Year=2005&billnum=1877. Suzanne Brown-McBride, Executive Director, CalCASA. Since the passage of Prop 69 in November 2004, over 600,000 samples have been collected in California, including over 140,000 samples from Los Angeles County. As of October 2007, CODIS had over five million convicted offender profiles from state and federal sources a decade of successes and setbacks
19 Additionally, court systems outside of criminal courts have begun to recognize the need to develop tools for sexual assault victims to be provided with a legal safety net. Many states have broadened their criteria for access to protection orders to include victims of sexual assault, while some states have developed specific Sexual Assault Protection Orders (SAPO s), to create protections for sexual assault victims through the civil court process. Employment laws have been expanded to protections for sexual assault victims to prevent job loss when victims seek services, and lawmakers in California continue to work towards protecting victims from losing their housing by continuing to expand their rights. Supportive Services for Victims and Coordinated response. Perhaps the biggest success in improving intervention services for victims of sexual violence in the past decade has been the widespread development of SART (Sexual Assault Response Teams). 60 SARTs utilize a team approach to implement a comprehensive, sensitive, coordinated system of intervention and care for sexual assault victims. In California, the first SART was established in Since that time, the nation has used this successful teaming of sexual assault victim advocates, medical professionals, and law enforcement to provide critical crisis intervention services and to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. SARTs respond to sexual violence calls and work to improve evidence collection, increase reporting, increase prosecution rates, and reduce the re-traumatization of victims. SARTs throughout the nation have likely led to higher conviction rates for rape, as well as an immediate path to recovery and support at the victim s first contact with law enforcement and the legal system. 62 DARTs (Domestic Abuse Response Teams) are also considered promising practices for serving the community. Fortunately, service providers are becoming more aware of the intricacies of sexual assault and the impact on victims. Support services and advocacy continues to expand to include a broad range of systems from the courts, criminal and civil, schools, public benefits, and workplaces. Victim s needs are beginning to be looked at holistically, and are addressed as a whole, helping victims to regain control over their whole lives, not just part of it LACSAC SART Standards and Protocols (on file with the author): a SART is a multi-disciplinary, interagency, sexual assault intervention model. LACSAC SART Standards and Protocols (on file with the author). a decade of successes and setbacks 12
20 An Overview of Best & Promising Practices: Peace Over Violence has been involved in the response to and prevention of sexual violence for over 36 years collaborating with other rape crisis centers, county & statewide coalitions, law enforcement & the district attorney s office, hospital and medical personnel along with many other private non-profit and public entities, local and statewide, legislators and concerned individuals. In that time we have witnessed the development of several best practices, such as: The wide-spread use of SART and DART (Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Response Teams) teams has added an interdisciplinary approach to sexual assault response which is a healthier response for victims and provides the needed crisis intervention services in a timely manner. The use of DNA evidence in sexual violence cases helps create safer communities. This leads to the successful prosecution of abusers, many of which are repeat offenders. School-based violence prevention programs & curricula that focus on sexual violence and teen dating violence have educated thousands of youth about these issues and will likely result in an overall decrease in sexual violence as teens learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), in partnership with Men Can Stop Rape, has implemented the My Strength campaign in California. This campaign is directed at young men and empowers them to become allies and campus leaders in reducing the denigration and violence directed towards women. The My Strength campaign has launched with billboards, radio and TV advertisements across California, stating that men s Strength is not for hurting. The curriculum deconstructs traditionally violent and aggressive male gender roles (an underlying cause of sexual violence) and affirms positive new ways to be masculine. Peace Over Violence piloted My Strength in Los Angeles and was one of only six rape crisis centers chosen from the state of California. The establishment of the California Sex Offender Management Board created in 2006 is a step toward oversight and more mindful administration of sex offender policies and protocols. Management boards have been created to evaluate sex offender management and supervision policies in the context of evidence based practice. These boards are also attempting to find the nexus of victim treatment, prevention and offender management Suzanne Brown-McBride, Executive Director, CalCASA. 13 an overview of best and promising practices