Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sexual Assault Victims Deserve Justice

Sexual Assault Victims Deserve Justice

Courtesy+of+Santa+Clara+County+Sheriff+

Courtesy of Santa Clara County Sheriff

Kayla Restivo, Staff Writer

Currently convicted rapist Brock Turner is being released from jail after only serving half of his six month sentence. When he was first sentenced to the 6 months for raping an unconscious woman, it started a lot of protests that called for rapist and sexually abusers to get harsher punishment. Brock Turner was given this light slap on the hand because “he was a good kid and never got in trouble.” Stanford University has one of the highest amounts of on-campus rape cases in the country.

For ruining a young girl’s life, he got 3 months. That’s it. Many other sexual abusers get minimum sentences or none at all and it makes no sense. The victims have to live with this for the rest of their lives and they barley get the closure they need to move on with their lives. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network says that 97 out of 100 rapists do not serve a single day in prison. California has passed a bill that will give rapists mandatory prison sentences if the victim is unconscious or under the influence and can’t give consent.

Being a fellow sexual assault survivor, I know how the victim in the Brock Turners case feels. When I finally told someone after 2 years of repeated sexual abuse, my abuser got no jail time, no punishment, nothing. He was supposed to be a registered sex offender but he didn’t even get that. By not giving any punishment or jail time, it gives the abuser the idea he got away with it and he can get away with anything. Justice is not being served in my case and many other sexual abuse and assault cases and this needs to change. When I was trying to get over all the abuse, I had lived in fear that he would come after me. I’ve spoken at victim’s rights conferences and that was a great way to get my voice out there for change.

There needs to be a call for stricter sentences and punishments for sexual abusers and assaulters. Rape culture needs to end. Do not use rape and molestation and other forms of sexual assault as jokes, it’s not funny. It’s disgusting and rude to those around you who have been through the same thing. Many of us are still trying to cope with what happened to us and we don’t want to hear jokes about something that ruined parts of our lives.

If you or someone you know needs help dealing with or just wants to tell someone what happened or is currently happening, I’m here for you. I’ve been through it and I will listen. There’s also Palm Beach County Victim Services at the courthouse where you can talk to a therapist and/or a victims advocate for free. Their phone number is 561-355-2418. Remember, change only happens when people start saying things and protesting. We can fix this criminal justice system one case at a time.”

 

article courtesy of “The Tribe” the Santaluces Community High School newspaper (full article in link)

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Human Trafficking

Flight attendant rescues teenage girl from human trafficker

Adam Boult
The TelegraphFebruary 6, 2017
Sheila Fedrick
Sheila Fedrick

A flight attendant working for Alaska Airlines has been praised after describing how her quick thinking allowed a young passenger to escape the clutches of a human trafficker.

Shelia Fedrick, 49, was working on a  flight from Seattle to San Francisco in 2011 when she noticed a teenage girl, aged around 14, travelling with a well-dressed older man.

The girl had greasy blonde hair and, according to Fedrick, “looked like she had been through pure hell”.

Speaking to WTSP, Fedrick said she tried to speak to the pair – but the girl remained silent and the man responded defensively.

Alaksa Airlines - Credit: Alaksa Airlines
Alaksa Airlines – Credit: Alaksa Airlines

Speaking under her breath, Fedrick instructed the girl to visit one of the plane’s toilets, where she left a note for her on the mirror. The girl left a message in the same place confirming that she needed help.

Fedrick informed the pilot, who alerted police. Officers were waiting at the terminal when the plane arrived in San Francisco and it was subsequently discovered that the girl was the victim of human trafficking.

Fedrick said: “I’ve been a flight attendant for 10 years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training.

“And I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know. If you see something, say something.”

Fedrick is still in touch with the girl, who is now attending college: “I put my phone number on the note that I left for her and I guess she memorised it, so a few weeks later, she called me,” she said.

In 2016, 2,000 people were arrested for human trafficking by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with 400 victims freed.”

— article courtesy of Yahoo.com (full article available here)

Good Morning America

abc good morning america

ABC’s Good Morning America featured a story highlighting the disclosure of DJ Zeke Thomas. In the article (listed below) he spoke about his own sexual assaults and the feelings associated:

good morning america

“DJ and producer Zeke Thomas is revealing publicly for the first time that he was raped twice.

“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America.”

Prince William speaks with Lady Gaga in Facebook video about tackling mental health issues

Thomas, 28, the son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, said he was raped for the first time at just 12 years old and then raped again in a separate incident last year.

“At first I didn’t realize what had happened, what had transpired. I knew that it was wrong, I knew that I did not want it. I did not seek it out,” he said of the incident at age 12. “I hadn’t let my family know until much later that this had happened.”

He added, “It was definitely hard for them to hear, and even more hard for them to hear that it happened again.”

Thomas described himself as “terrified” when he was raped again last year, saying, “I really felt that my manhood had been taken from me.”

He did not press charges in either instance of rape, explaining that he “just wasn’t ready” and did not want to be labeled a “victim.”

“If I could go back, there’s 100 percent I would press charges,” Thomas said. “If we could find…the assailant today, I would 100 percent press charges.”

Thomas is going public now about his past sexual abuse to help others. He appears in a new PSA released today by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Thomas is also an ambassador for the NSVRC, an organization dedicated to “preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research,” according to its website.

“I want to give the voiceless a voice,” Thomas said. “The healing really begins with the voice. The healing begins with, this happened to me. I can get through it.”

In the U.S., over 19.5 million men are the victims of contact sexual violence, including rape, over the course of their lives, according to new data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I’m encouraging more victims to come forward,” Thomas said of his newly public role, which also includes him undergoing training to speak to kids about sexual abuse.

It was Thomas’ own family and his focus on music that he credits with giving him strength and helping him on what he calls his “journey” toward recovery.

“They let me know they’re here for me and [said], ‘We’re gonna do everything in our power to help your through this journey,’” Thomas said of his family, whom he relied on along with seeking the help of therapists and doctors.

Thomas, a Detroit native, has collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga, Jay Z, Pitbull and Diana Ross but it was his own music and lyrics that helped him in his recovery.

“Music has been very therapeutic to me, and writing the songs, and coming out with music to express the way I feel,” Thomas said.

Thomas’ latest single is titled “I’m Dealing With It” and includes the lyrics, “I’m not beggin’ for forgiveness — but tonight I’ve come undone … let my spirit leave this palace, I can’t find the strength to run.”

Thomas said the lyrics signify his road to empowerment.

“It was really through the process of, you know, I’m blaming myself, and I’m coming undone, and I’m trying to take my power back,” he said.

Click HERE for more from the NSVRC on what you can do to prevent sexual violence.

information courtesy of abc news — click here for the original article

 

Palm Beach County Green Dot

SART AEquitas Training

AEquitas                      SART logo

Palm Beach County SART and AEquitas to offer a training titled: Coming Full Circle: Responding to Cases of Sexual Violence Involving Victims with Disabilities 

DATE: May 26, 2017

TIME: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

 

LOCATION:    

Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth Campus
4200 South Congress Ave.
Public Safety Center- Room PSD-108

 

PRESENTERS:

John Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor, AEquitas

Dr. Bev Frantz, Temple University

Deputy Chief John Beyer, Duluth Police Department, Retired

 

 PURPOSE: Criminal justice professionals working to improve their response to crimes of sexual violence must be properly equipped for their encounters with victims having developmental disabilities or other special needs.  This training will identify some of the unique challenges faced by survivors with disabilities and will provide effective resources and strategies for professionals responsible for investigating and prosecuting their cases.  Putting these concepts into practice can improve our ability to come full circle from initial contact through investigation and prosecution of the case.

 

TARGET AUDIENCE: Law Enforcement, advocates, State Attorneys, State Attorney advocates, all persons who work with victims of crime.

 

 REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AEquitas

COST:  Free

POINT OF CONTACT:  Susan Carlini (561) 625-2565

 

Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS)

This Bill to Protect Domestic-Violence Victim’s Pets Could Save Women’s Lives

By 

puppies

“Domestic abusers often extend their behavior to their victims’ pets, threatening and harming them as a means of control over their owner. That, coupled with the fact that only 3 percent of domestic-violence shelters accommodate pets, makes it difficult for women to leave an abusive situation for fear of what will happen to their pets. Some women delay leaving, some return to abusive situations, while others have reported resorting to living out of their cars so that they can keep both themselves and their pets safe.

The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, reintroduced in Congress earlier this week, aims “to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by acts of violence or threats of violence against their pets.”

Katherine Clark, a Democratic congresswoman from Massachusetts who, along with nearly 180 representatives across the aisle, is sponsoring the bill released a statement saying, “Pets often become a member of the family, and the idea of leaving a beloved pet behind in a dangerous situation is unthinkable. By ensuring that people experiencing domestic abuse don’t have to make the decision between finding safety for themselves or staying behind to protect their pet, we can empower survivors to seek help.”

Under H.R. 909, federal domestic-violence protections would also include threats and violence against pets. In addition to that, the bill would extend grant funding to the domestic-violence shelters that do provide pet housing, and include any veterinary costs in restitution payments.

If passed, the PAWS Act could be a life-saver for women attempting to leave an abusive situation but in a bind because of their pets. A New York Timesarticle about the Urban Resource Institute, which provides pet-friendly housing for domestic-violence victims New York City, included the story of one Queens woman who was killed by her abusive boyfriend in 2014. She had returned home that night because she was terrified for her dog’s safety.”

— information courtesy of NYMag.com (full article in link)