Understanding sexual violence…
Sexual violence is a widespread issue that impacts everyone. These facts provides information about how parents and caregivers can play a role in preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors. Together we can create safe and respectful communities.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is a broad term and includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and elders.
These crimes are widespread and occur daily in our communities, schools, and workplaces, but sexual violence can be prevented. Community members can work to prevent sexual violence by establishing healthy and positive relationships that are based on respect, safety, and equality.
Sexual violence at a glance
- One in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before the age 18 (Dube et al., 2005).
- One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives (Black et al., 2011).
A majority of women who reported being raped at some point in their life (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25, and 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years (Black et al., 2011).
More than 25% of male victims in a national sample reported their first rape was when they were 10 years of age or younger (Black et al., 2011).
Rape is far more extensive than reported in official statistics, and the majority of rapists are never apprehended (Carr & VanDeusen, 2004).
Your role in prevention
You can play a role in changing the attitudes and culture that promote sexual violence. Traditional gender roles, power imbalances, and victim-blaming all contribute to sexual violence. Be a part of the solution:
Be a role model for respectful behavior to those around you.
Talk with your children about healthy sexual development and personal boundaries.
Intervene and speak up when you see inappropriate behavior. To better equip yourself in these situations, practice what you might say or do.
Talk to someone from your local sexual assault center for more information. Invite them to speak in your schools, faith communities or workplaces.
· A majority of women who reported being raped at some point in their life (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25, and 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years (Black et al., 2011).
- More than 25% of male victims in a national sample reported their first rape was when they were 10 years of age or younger (Black et al., 2011).
- Rape is far more extensive than reported in official statistics, and the majority of rapists are never apprehended (Carr & VanDeusen, 2004).
Parents and caregivers are uniquely positioned to assist children and teens experiencing sexual violence, as they often see the warning signs — sudden changes in behavior or mood, lower grades, social withdrawal — before others.
Children and teens may turn to you to discuss what is happening. All adults are responsible for keeping children safe and protecting them from harm.
If you suspect a child is being abused, contact the police or your local child protective services agency, the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), or your local sexual violence program; Piedmont Crisis Center (1-888-819-2926),
How to offer support
Survivors of sexual violence have experienced trauma, and each person reacts differently to trauma. Some disclose immediately, but many never talk about what happened to them, or wait years to talk about it.
When someone discloses sexual abuse, appreciate their resilience, strength, and bravery. Be mindful of your own response:
- Create a safe place for the child or teen to talk and share. Allow them control over the environment as much as possible.
- Listen and allow them to share the information that they are comfortable sharing. If a survivor wants to share with you, allow them to do so in their own way, words time frame.
- Believe them. Survivors often struggle with disclosing abuse because they fear they won’t be believed. It takes immense bravery for them to trust you and share the details of what happened.
- Be open and honest about your responsibilities. Children and teens have a right to be safe, valued and respected. Connect them with community resources or trained professionals to provide continued support.
A Great Time Was Had By All
On February 14th, Valentines and their sweeties came out to celebrate at the first Taste of Chocolate. This benefit for Madeline’s House – Piedmont Crisis Center was held at the Officers’ Club on Fort Pickett in Blackstone. There were chocolates, coffees and wine tastings, scrumptious foods and desserts, fun photos, flowers, music, silent and live auctions, raffles of all kinds of things to do with this day of hearts and chocolate for all to enjoy. Over $10,000 was raised to support programs and services provided to victims of domestic and sexual violence by MH-PCC. This agency is charged with providing critical, life-saving services to 12 counties in south central Virginia. We are grateful to our sponsors, including corporations, small business and many individuals who support our mission. Major sponsors for the 2015 Taste of Chocolate event were Southside Electric Cooperative and Benchmark Community Bank. Many, many thanks go to each and every one of you. A list of all sponsors are as follows:
Access Realty, Boswell & Williamson, Sam Winn Insurance, Blackstone Family Practice / Bon Secours, Edgerton’s Flowers, Paisley & Sage, Pepsi, Southside Area Community Theater, Wellvilla Construction, Bank of McKenney, Bank of Southside Virginia, Blackstone Animal Clinic, Lone Oak Baptist Church, Stewardship Solutions, Commonwealth Vision, Harris, Matthews & Crowder, Bevell’s Hardware, Blackstone Antique Mall, Citizens Bank, Lynda Farrell, Cary Bowen, Amy and Scott Burnette, Tom Wilkinson
Madeline’s House Opens Satellite Offices
Madeline’s House has established ten satellite offices throughout its 12 county service area. This outreach initiative will enable victims of domestic and sexual violence in this predominantly rural area to have easier access to critical services. Currently satellite offices are located in 6 strategically chosen counties allowing the greatest access to everyone in this very large service area. Future plans are to have at least one satellite office in all 12 counties.
Among services offered at these satellite offices are: personal case management and individual supportive counseling, safety planning, victim / court advocacy, assistance with obtaining protective orders and document recovery, life skills assessment and training options, assistance with job and house searches, assistance in seeking appropriate legal and medical counsel, information and referral assistance, and arrangements for sheltering if needed. All services are free and no appointment is needed. Call 1.888.819.2926 for location and satellite office hours.
Madeline’s House will continue serving victims of violence at its shelter location as it has done for 14 years. This new satellite office program is just one more way victims of abuse can reach out for help.
In addition to this new outreach effort, presentations and workshops remain available to community and professional groups. If your group would like to schedule a presentation or workshop, or if you have a personal question, call our office at 434.292.1077 or 1.888.819.2926. Our professional staff are trained and certified in many areas related to domestic and sexual violence.