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Having ‘the talk’ #SuicideAwarenessMonth

Tips for Talking About Suicide

As our long-time readers know, September is Suicide Awareness Month. According to NAMI, almost 45,000 individuals died by suicide in 2016. We have written other blog posts about suicide, its relationship to domestic violence/sexual assault, and different ways individuals can work to prevent suicide. For this year, we will discuss how to talk about suicide with someone who may be suicidal. Suicide is often thought of as this lofty, far-away subject, so many people do not know how to best engage with someone who is suicidal.

  1. The first thing you can do is ask. “I noticed you have been depressed/down/acting differently lately. Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Asking directly will not cause someone to become suicidal. Instead, you will open the topic for discussion, whether they are thinking of suicide or not. This form of direct conversation removes the ‘taboo’ element from the subject, thus making it easier to seek help.

When you ask, make sure you do not phrase it in a way that may be judgmental. “You’re not thinking of killing yourself, are you?” can be perceived as more of an accusation or judgment, implying that the only ‘right’ answer is that they are not thinking of suicide. This could cause the person to become less likely to seek help, for fear that others will think negatively of them.

  1. Be prepared for the answer. You may want them to say “No, I am not thinking about suicide,” because you cannot envision your loved one contemplating suicide. However, if you are going to talk about suicide honestly and in a manner that would most help someone, you need to be ready to hear that “yes.”

If you do not feel that you are ready to talk about suicide with someone, you can call a suicide or crisis hotline for help. These hotlines exist to help people thinking of suicide, so they are a great resource to help you offer help to someone else.

  1. Validate their experiences, but don’t minimize. Everyone has a different experience, so recognize that what they are experiencing or feeling is valid. They know what they are feeling—just because someone else may not understand why they have these feelings does not mean that these feelings do not exist or are not valid.

While you discuss that their feelings and experiences are valid, do not minimize what they are going through. Suicide is a significant health issue—someone’s thoughts of suicide should not be taken lightly.

  1. Offer resources. By starting dialogue with the individual, you are becoming a resource to them. While you may become an invaluable resource for support, they may need other resources for information or help. You do not need to push a formal typed list of every suicide organization and counseling resource on them, but it helps if you know of some websites for them to check for additional help. This way, you can fully acknowledge that while you may not have all the answers personally, the answers are possible to find.

 

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Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741-741

TrevorLifeline (LGBTQ+ Youth): 1-866-488-7386

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

 

Sources:

Home

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-faq/index.shtml

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/11/suicide-violence

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html

 


Emily is a Preventionist and Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how to access or support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

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National Compliment Your Mirror Day

What is it??

July 3rd was National Compliment Your Mirror Day. It is a day to celebrate who we are as a person, beyond outer appearances. Our self-worth, our quirks, our personalities, our contributions to the people around us, our approach to the world: that is what this day is about.Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 10.52.03

This can be especially difficult following an experience with domestic violence or sexual assault. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience depression, anxiety, and/or low self-esteem following domestic violence or sexual assault.

Some ways to recover emotionally following abuse:

Remember that it was not your fault. No one asks to be abused or assaulted. Any actions you took helped you to survive, so they were the right actions. The actions and choices of another person do not define who you are, and you are more than your past.

Everyone has different ways of coping, so what works for one person may not be very helpful for another. It is important to find what works for you, and to not assume that you are unable to heal because one path didn’t work for you.

Talk to someone. It can be a family member, a friend, a crisis line, or a professional. You can even start with a pet or inanimate object. Just speaking out loud can help you sort through various

you-got-thisPositive affirmations: Many people are used to thinking critical statements about ourselves. Although it can be difficult, try to rethink this self-talk to have a more positive spin. Once you think of a positive affirmation, repeat it, then repeat it again. “Progress, not perfection,” “I am always doing the best that I can,” or “I am very capable of changing my own behavior, but I can ONLY change MY behavior,” are great starting points. Initially you might think it is silly or weird to repeat these statements to yourself, but hearing—or even just thinking—these statements several times assists in changing your view of yourself. By repeating these statements, you will begin to believe them more and more, shifting your mindset towards yourself to a more positive and realistic view. You can use National Compliment Your Mirror Day as a starting point for this practice, and work it into your routine.

Reminding yourself that you are worthy. Whether it is love, attention, compassion, power of your own body, help, or anything else, you are worthy.

If you need help in your healing journey, Tri-Valley Haven offers free counseling services, both personal counseling and group therapy with a focus on either domestic violence or sexual assault. Our crisis line is always open if you need to talk to someone immediately.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440441/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/recovering-from-rape-and-sexual-trauma.htm

https://www.secasa.com.au/pages/feelings-after-sexual-assault/

https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/collegeofsocialsciencesandinternationalstudies/research/interventioninitiative/resources/SARSASSelfHelpGuideOct2014.pdf

 


Emily is a Preventionist and Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how to access or support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

Breaking down Stigma: Abuse and the LGBT+ Communities

“That doesn’t happen to us.” “We both fight each other.”

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At a recent high school booth event, we asked students questions about various sexual assault or domestic violence topics. One student proclaimed, “If it’s LGBT+, I’ll know it.” When asked if those in LGBT+ relationships are impacted more, less, or at a comparable level to those in heterosexual relationships, the student answered less. They were shocked to find out they were wrong, stating they thought that homosexual relationships were more “genuine” or “equal.”

A CDC study published in 2010 found that bisexual women were disproportionally impacted by rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner than heterosexual women.

  • 44% lesbian, 61% bisexual, and 35% heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their life
  • 26% gay, 37% bisexual, and 29% heterosexual men experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their life

A study focusing on trans individuals published in 2015 reported that 47% of trans individuals experienced sexual assault at some point in their life (this compares to 46% of bisexual women). Furthermore, 54% of trans individuals focused on some form of intimate partner violence, with 24% of survey-takers reporting severe physical violence (compares to 18% of the US adult population).

 

Barriers with the LGBT+ Community

Sexual violence is pervasive in the LGBT+ community, but this is not as commonly known as it should be, as seen with the high school student. There are many barriers that individuals face that are unique to this community, making it less likely for someone to come forward to friends—let alone make a police report or seek domestic violence or sexual assault-specific services.

  • Do not want to “betray” the community by bringing negative attention to another LGBT+ person

There is a lot of stigma towards this community for simply existing. Individuals may feel that exposing abuse may give the community as a whole a bad image.

  • Fear they may be ousted from the community for accusations

As with abuse or violence in heterosexual couples, it is possible that the victim will not be believed by their friends or support systems. Many LGBT+ individuals have tightly knit communities in their area that are other LGBT+ folks; thus, if they are not believed, they lose access to that entire community. While this may not necessarily happen, the fear of losing that community may keep the individual from disclosing.

  • Not out—especially with domestic violence

By coming out about domestic violence someone experienced, they may out themselves accidentally. Furthermore, this could contribute to the abuse: “If you leave me/don’t do what I want/etc., then I will out you to your family.”

  • Marginalized communities—people of color, bisexuals

Intersectionality matters. Historically marginalized communities, such as people of color, may face more barriers. People who identify as bisexual are sometimes falsely characterized as “easy,” or not “gay enough” or “straight enough.”

  • Preconceived notion of abuse only existing within heterosexual cisgender binary
  • Lack of LGBT+ accepting resources
  • Fear of mistreatment—not believed, blamed on orientation

 

 

How can we address this problem?

Make space in discussions of domestic violence and sexual assault for LGBT+ perspectives. Something as basic as using male pronouns in referring to perpetrators and female pronouns in referring to the survivor in education around abuse reinforces the myth that abuse only occurs in cisgender, heterosexual relationships, where the male is always the perpetrator.

Recognize your own biases in relationship dynamics. It is not uncommon for people to think that behaviors in a heterosexual couple are abuse, but those same behaviors in a homosexual couple are acceptable. By recognizing these possible biases, we can extend the reach of the “Me Too” movement, where any form of abuse or violence is not acceptable regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Tri-Valley Haven is an LGBTQ+ affirming organization, meaning that individuals can seek services and be accepted for their identity, free of discrimination or animosity.

Emily is a Preventionist and Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how to access or support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

For additionalresources and information:

Trans Individuals: Forge— https://forge-forward.org/anti-violence/for-survivors/

LGBTQ+: The Network La Red— http://tnlr.org/en/ (Massachusetts-based, but has further information for various communities)

General info: RAINN—https://www.rainn.org/articles/lgbtq-survivors-sexual-violence

Myths about LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence: HRC— https://www.hrc.org/blog/common-myths-about-lgbtq-domestic-violence

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline: 1-800-832-1901

 

References:

Smith, S. G., Zhang, X., Basile, K. C., Merrick, M. T., Wang, J., Kresnow, M., & Chen, J. (2010). NISVS: An Overview of 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Center for Disease Control.

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

https://www.hrc.org/resources/sexual-assault-and-the-lgbt-community

http://www.galop.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/For-Service-Providers-Barriers.pdf

Yearlong Sexual Assault Awareness

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April was National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)!

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Tri-Valley Haven was busy with prevention education presentations at local schools, at our Candlelight March in Livermore and raising money for our shelter for those who have experienced interpersonal violence at our Sweat for the Shelter event.  While April is the month is dedicated to raising public awareness about rape and sexual

violence, it should not be the only time that these issues are discussed.

Here are some facts about sexual assault:

Sexual assault involves any form of unwanted sexual activity including, but not limited to rape, marital rape, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, incest, forcing to watch pornography, and denying the use of contraception.  Pervasive and indiscriminate, sexual assault affects people in all communities regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, religion, culture, and socioeconomic status.  One in five women in the United States has been raped in her lifetime[1].  If you are a survivor of sexual assault, it is important to know that you are not alone.

To better understand sexual assault, it is helpful to learn what it is not.  Many myths persist regarding sexual assault.  A common one is that women lie about being raped for attention or to seek revenge.  False reports occur only 2-10 percent of the time; in fact, 63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to the police[2].  That holds true for a variety of reasons such as having a fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed, fear of retaliation, and a distrust of law enforcement.  Reporting has many pros and cons that a trained counselor can discuss with a survivor to help the survivor make the choice that they feel is most right for them. Some benefits of reporting is that it can help abuse go on the record and it can help establish a pattern of behavior committed by the perpetrator.  Since many rapists are repeat offenders and aren’t usually charged or convicted the first time, having such information on record can help substantiate future reports of sexual assault against the perpetrator.  Another pro is that California law entitles survivors of sexual assault to an advocate.  Once a report is made, a Sexual Assault Advocate is immediately dispatched to provide support to the survivor through the emotional, medical, and legal process following an assault. However, at Tri-Valley Haven, we support survivors whether or not they want to report the assault to law enforcement, we believe it is a survivor’s choice, and survivors can still receive our advocacy services and get support without ever reporting (unless in circumstances where we are mandated to report abuse by law).

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Tri-Valley Haven is committed to building a world without violence.  The Rape Crisis Center (RCC) at the Haven offers a variety of supportive services such as a 24-hour crisis line, advocacy, support groups, individual counseling, information and aid to friends and family.  The RCC strongly believes in prevention through education and offers community classes to local schools, workplaces, neighborhood organizations, and places of worship.  The Haven also hosts self-defense workshops for women and girls throughout the year at Las Positas College.

Through a collective effort by the Haven, the community, and you, we can create homes safe from abuse, a more peaceful society, and a world free of violence.  For more information on any of the Haven’s services or how to get involved, please visit our website at www.trivalleyhaven.org.

Please join Tri-Valley Haven on May 16th:
LunaFest Film Festival in Livermore.  This event is a nationally touring film festival that features award-winning short films by, for, and about women.  The evening starts with a VIP reception at Zephyr Grill with food and drinks beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by films and snacks at 7 p.m.  If you wish to attend the VIP reception get your tickets early as the VIP is always a sell out!  General Admission with movie snacks and films will begin at 7 p.m.  Purchase tickets at:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunafest-livermore-ca-tickets-55413712907

[1] Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[2] National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2012). False Reporting Overview. Retrieved from https://www.nsvrc.org/publications/false-reporting-overview

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This blog post was written by TVH staff member Aubrey. Aubrey is our PREA Coordinator at Tri-Valley Haven who heads our services at Santa Rita Jail under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

Awareness of Teen Dating Violence on #TDVAM

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Tri-Valley Haven aspires and works toward, “protecting those in need, helping them to grow again, and seeking to build a more peaceful society.” So, naturally, we want to draw attention to issues and topics that related to those values. For those of you that don’t know, February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! Teen Dating Violence Month (sometimes called TDVAM) is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it. One way that Tri-Valley Haven contributes to this noble effort, is by educating the youth in our community about healthy relationships, as well as unhealthy relationships, through a Prevention Education program.

The Prevention Education team is a diverse staff of Tri-Valley Haven employees that reach out to local middle schools and high schools to provide a wealth of knowledge that goes beyond talking about bullying and peer pressure. The Prevention Education team, through various presentations, activities, videos and reading materials, takes special care to inform students and young adults about the more-than-alarming reality of Teen DV, and just how relevant knowing what Teen DV is, looks like and how to get help really is.

Teen Dating Violence is defined, according to the CDC, as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional aggression within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.

Dating violence is more common than many people think. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. And, nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors! When the Prevention Education team presents these statistics to students and young adults, the common reaction is disbelief and overall shock. The truth is, these numbers are only a snapshot representation of cases that have been reported. So many cases go unreported, and the TVH Prevention Education team spends a lot of time discussing the reasons teens and young adults don’t report or leave an abusive relationship.

What are the risk factors for teen dating violence?

Teens receive messages about how to behave in relationships from peers, adults, and the media. All too often these examples suggest that violence in a relationship is normal, but violence is NEVER acceptable! Violence is related to certain risk factors. The risk of having unhealthy relationships increases for teens who:

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  • Believe that dating violence is acceptable
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
  • Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
  • Use drugs or illegal substances
  • Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a friend involved in teen dating violence
  • Have conflicts with a partner
  • Witness or experience violence in the home

What are the consequences of teen dating violence?

Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have short- and long-term negative effects on a developing teen. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors
  • Think about suicide or attempt suicideScreen Shot 2019-02-12 at 18.27.00

Additionally, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

Communicating with your partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent. Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations like Tri-Valley Haven, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.

So, from all of us here at Tri-Valley Haven, we invite you to share the power your hands have to create meaningful relationships, raise awareness and educate others. Remember, everyone has a hand in ending dating violence! Help us spread awareness and stop dating abuse before it starts!

Resources/References:

Tri-Valley Haven

http://www.trivalleyhaven.org/public/docs/TVH_FAQ.pdf

http://www.trivalleyhaven.org/for-teens.html

https://trivalleyhavenblogger.com/2018/02/26/does-violence-occur-in-teenage-relationships/

https://trivalleyhavenblogger.com/2017/03/01/wear-orange4love-for-healthy-teen-relationships-with-tri-valley-haven/

https://trivalleyhavenblogger.com/2016/02/12/changing-the-culture-how-do-we-prevent-dating-violence-and-sexual-assault/

Teen DV Month | Loveisrespect.org

https://www.loveisrespect.org/teendvmonth/

Teen Dating Violence|Intimate Partner Violence|Violence Preventtion|Injury Center|CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html


This blog post was written by TVH staff member Kelly. Kelly is a Preventionist and Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

 

Human Sexual Trafficking: A Local and Global Issue

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When we hear the phrase “human trafficking,” it’s easy to think of it as an abstract act that doesn’t occur near us. Human trafficking is a highly organized crime that is unfortunately prevalent in California. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s Ranking of 100 Most Populous U.S. Cities, five California cities are ranked in the top 25: Los Angeles is second, San Diego came in at eleventh, San Francisco followed at twelfth, Sacramento was close at thirteenth, and Oakland fell at twenty fourth1. As an agency in the Tri-Valley area, these cities are close to home but they are not the only ones affected. The Tri-Valley is also a common place for human trafficking and trafficking in the Tri-Valley looks much different than it does in those other cities.

Women, pain, closeup.

As there is a lower population in the Tri-Valley compared to the cities mentioned above, the trafficking is less visible to the naked eye, but it still exists in high numbers. There is no common street where trafficking happens in the Tri-Valley (as there is in Oakland); here, it is kept more private: moved to the internet, parlors, salons, restaurants, and other businesses. Adults and kids are recruited at their schools, through other kids, on social media, or at local hangouts. Our own staff have accompanied police on stings at local restaurants and have also seen salons and parlors suspected to be fronts for trafficking. Our staff has also been sent to local Tri-Valley high schools to provide counseling and resources to teens who were being recruited by other teens or who were trafficked themselves.

Before we move forward, we all need to understand the definition of human trafficking, because it truly is modern-day slavery. It involves exploiting an individual through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of forced labor, commercial sex, or both. Human trafficking is an epidemic in California and many juvenile victims are members of our communities. A teacher in Contra Costa County recently shared that a storefront six blocks from the high school she works at was shut down due to human trafficking2.

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As one might suspect, it is easier to manipulate/groom a child and by the time they become an adult, they are broken down and dependent on their trafficker. Once the trafficker gets into their mind, it’s easy for them to maintain control, similar to a domestic abuser. We are seeing an increase in predators using technology and social media to identify a potential victim’s vulnerabilities or weaknesses in order to exploit them for personal gain. Technology also allows the trafficker to keep constant tabs on their victim.

The state of California recently decided that our youth needs to be educated and the Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act (AB 1227) was passed in 2017, which requires all public schools to order education and training about human trafficking to both staff and students, with an emphasis on identification and prevention. I am proud to say California is the first state in the nation to adopt such a mandate and we hope to see other states follow suit.

Tri-Valley Haven has an Anti-Sexual Trafficking Program to support sexual trafficking survivors. We strive to bring community awareness, introduce education into the community, and provide support and stability to survivors of trafficking.

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma due to sexual trafficking, Tri-Valley Haven’s program offers housing (upon availability), a restraining order clinic, counseling services, advocacy services, and access to our food pantry. For more information about these services, call us at (925) 449-5845, or if you are in crisis, our crisis line is (800)884-8119.

References:
1. National Human Trafficking Hotline. Ranking of 100 Most Populous U.S. Cities (2017).
2. California Educators. A Vile Epidemic: Sex Trafficking (2018).


Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 09.58.59Megan is the Sexual Assault Lead Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

The Importance of Domestic Violence Awareness & Action Year-Round

While Tri-Valley Haven strives all year long to raise awareness and be strong advocates against domestic violence, special attention is given to the topic every October as it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. JPG-DVAM.jpg

There is truth in numbers. Almost 20 people per minute are abused by a partner in the United States, meaning more than 10 million people per year. In fact, on a usual day, more than 20,000 calls are made to domestic violence hotlines in the U.S. alone. One in four women and one in seven men have  been the victims of severe physical violence from a partner in their lifetime and, even more concerning is that one in five children are exposed to domestic violence each year with 90% of these children witnessing and encountering the violence themselves.

Silence does not end the violence! Every October on the first Saturday, Tri-Valley Haven hosts the Pace for Peace, a 5K/10K walk-run in Livermore.  This year’s event was held on October 6th and over 200 community and staff members participated, raising essential funds to support the programs that allow Tri-Valley Haven to continue to provide a multitude of services, support and awareness for Domestic Violence and more.

Tri-Valley Haven makes a staunch effort to connect with our community and over the years, events like Pace for Peace, as well as our annual Candlelight March which will be held on October 18th at 7:00 p.m. We will meet at Civic Park at Main Street and Bernal in Pleasanton. Candles and glow sticks will be provided to participants. We will march to the old Pleasanton Hotel and back with our Tri-Valley Haven banner, providing handouts with our contact information for interested onlookers. Again, please join us and encourage others to further support Tri-Valley Haven as we strive to create a world without violence.

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References:

  1. NCADV | National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ncadv.org, https://ncadv.org/statistics

 

If you or someone you know is struggling in healing from trauma due to sexual assault, sexual trafficking, or domestic violence, Tri-Valley Haven offers counseling and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. To make your first appointment or find out more about the groups, please call us at (925) 449-5845

 

Raising Awareness about Sexual Assault this SAAM

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) 

We know that everyone has something that they’re passionate about, and our passion is building a world without violence. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence that is occurring in communities all around the world (including your own), while also offering tools and resources on how to prevent this kind of violence.

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There is a widely accepted misconception that sexual assault is a female issue, but I assure you that is inaccurate. Violence does not discriminate. 1 in every 6 women and 1 in every 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime1.  Sexual assault is a public issue that affects women, men, children, families, and communities.

Survivors of sexual assault experience a widespread of reactions. Short term effects can be feelings of guilt, shame, fear, shock, and isolation. Long term struggles may include PTSD, depression, eating disorders, and the potential for STIs and/or pregnancy2. However, healing is possible when support is available!

We, at the Haven, work tirelessly to support survivors in any manner that we can. Counseling services, support groups, advocacy, and a 24/7 crisis line (1-800-884-8119) are offered, in addition to our efforts to prevent sexual assault and create awareness in our community. We are strong when we are united, and together is how we eradicate violence.

To put things in perspective: every 98 seconds someone in the United States is assaulted. By the time you’ve finished reading this blog, think of how many people have been affected2
You can help support survivors and contribute to prevention efforts for sexual assault!

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If you’d like to get involved with us, here’s what we’ve got going on this month:

  • April 7th: Annual Spring Pace for Peace 5k/10k through Livermore vineyards. If you’d like to participate as a runner, sign up here. If you’d like to volunteer for this event, ask for Lynne at (925)449-5845.
  • April 20th: Candelight March in downtown Livermore. This event is free to attend and will start at 7:00pm at Panama Red Coffee.
  • April 25th: Denim Day! Denim Day is a day when community members, survivors, caregivers, students, elected officials, and businesses wear denim as a visible statement in support of survivors and against misconceptions about sexual assault.
  • April 25th: LunaFest films at the Vine Cinemas. It began as a traveling film festival celebrating, showcasing, and championing women in film. They have created a platform for women’s untold stories and all proceeds from this showing of LunaFest go to benefit Tri-Valley Haven.

If you or someone you know is struggling in healing from trauma due to sexual assault, sexual trafficking, or domestic violence, Tri-Valley Haven offers counseling and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. To make your first appointment or find out more about the groups, please call us at (925) 449-5845.

References:
1. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Socio-emotional Impact of Violent Crime (2014).

  1. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).

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Megan is a Sexual Assault Advocate and Preventionist at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

Does Violence Occur in Teenage Relationships?

It’s almost a universal consensus that teenage years are rough…

Perhaps this statement prompted you to reflect back on your own middle and high school years, or maybe you’re walking through this stage in your life right now. As if battling hormones, discovering who you are, and transitioning to adulthood aren’t enough, teen dating violence is also something to be cognizant of.

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Sometimes known as TDVAM, it is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen relationships, in addition to promoting programs thatprevent it from happening.  One in in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults1.

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We at the Haven are staunch believers that educating our younger generations will help change the culture around dating violence. Because of this, our prevention team reaches out to local middle and high schools in the area to schedule presentations discussing healthy relationships and bystander intervention. This school year, the prevention team has scheduled 36 days of presentations, which comes out to roughly 3,000 students learning this information.

It is known that 3 in 4 parents have never had a conversation with their children about domestic violence2. Many times, our presentations are the first time that a student is being introduced to these topics from an educational standpoint; some of them have witnessed abuse or been victims of it themselves, but haven’t been exposed to qualities of an unhealthy relationship or ways that they can take action if they see something happening.

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Silence will not protect you or our children. We urge you to have these discussions within 
your family and with people around you. Only by continuous conversations and efforts can  we shift the stigma around dating violence and make it universally unacceptable.

 

How can you support our prevention efforts?

  • Talk with your teens. Educate you and your children about healthy relationships and personal boundaries. Teen Dating Abuse: How To Help My Child from Love is Respect and Bullying: Help Your Child Recognize the Signs of Bullying from National Bullying Prevention are great starting places!
  • Request a presentation. If you work with a group of teens, consider scheduling a presentation for your club, after-school program, religious youth group or community group! Contact our prevention educators at (925) 667-2727.
  • Donate to our Prevention Education Program. We currently produce presentations to some local Tri-Valley area middle and high schools. We hope to continue to expand our program to include all Tri-Valley middle and high schools. You can make help make this a reality by donating to our prevention efforts.

 

References:
1. Love is Respect. (February 2018). Teen DV Month 2018. Retrieved from http://www.loveisrespect.org/teendvmonth/
2. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. (2017). Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Retrieved from https://nrcdv.org/dvam/tdvam

 

We, at the Haven, are staunch believers that educating our younger generations will lead to a change in culture, and hopefully one day will eradicate the grave need for these types of discussions.

Dating violence is more common than one might think.

We strive to empower young people to build healthy relationships

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Megan is a Sexual Assault Advocate and Preventionist at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

 

 

 

Why Do We Run?

I ran track one year in school and hated every second of it. The strides it took to make it over the finish line appeared to be endless and the grueling way we had to push ourselves to shave a second or two off our previous time seemed like a cruel and unusual punishment. In fact, I am not even sure why I signed up in the first place…

Fast forward to working at Tri-Valley Haven and I now am a part of an annual event called Pace for Peace that, this year, was held on October 14th. People voluntarily signed up to run/walk a 5k or 10k through the winding Livermore Wine Country. I internally scoffed at the insanity until I read an anonymous quote about why people run and something clicked inside. Aside from the obvious health benefits that exercise can bring, running is a raw form of freedom. All that is required is a good pair of shoes.
Pace 2017


Tri-Valley Haven is dedicated to building a world without violence. What would that look like? I cannot say with certainty, but I can imagine it would be a place where everyone felt freedom: freedom to express who they are, freedom in feeling safe, freedom in being secure.
Pace 1 2017.jpgTo answer my own question, why do we run? I can’t answer that for everyone, but I can share that 250 runners showed up to the Pace for Peace and 60 volunteers and staff worked to make the event a success. That’s 310 people who believe in the Haven’s cause of ending violence and pursuing freedom and that is why they ran that chilly, beautiful Saturday morning.

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Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 09.58.59Megan is a Sexual Assault Advocate and Preventionist at Tri-Valley Haven.  For more information about how you can support our life-saving services for survivors and families, please call our office at (925) 449-5845 or visit http://www.trivalleyhaven.org

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