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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

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1 Comment

  1. #TriValleyHaven provides vital services to survivors of sexual assault all year long. I am glad that there are additional events in April, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to raise awareness about sexual violence, how victims can get assistance and the ways we all can work together to end sexual assault in our communities!

    Thank you.

    Reply

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