Tag Archives: rape


Kesha just changed the story for sexual assault survivors like me

Four years after she released her last single, three years after she accused her producer of rape and just over a year after her claims of abuse were dismissed in court, singer Kesha has returned – and it’s clear that she’s not content to leave the events of the past behind.

Although she doesn’t name and shame in her new single Praying, which she released last week, it’s clear that Kesha is singing about her tumultuous legal battle with her former producer, Lukasz ‘Dr. Luke’ Gottwald, who in 2014 she accused of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment and two counts of rape (he countersued and she eventually dropped the charges after a lengthy and complicated series of events).

Kesha’s comeback could have been a feud-inflaming rant of a song – or even a vacuous pop ditty; either would have gone viral. Instead, she has released something more nuanced and, in turn, has opened a new chapter in the public discussion surrounding sexual violence. In one song, she has turned the narrative about rape on its head.

 Nestled among lyrics like ‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell/I had to learn how to fight for myself’, she also belts out ‘I hope you find your peace’ and ‘Sometimes I pray for you at night/Someday – maybe – you’ll see the light’.

 As someone who was sexually assaulted as a teenager, I know why Kesha has focused on compassion and not anger. Simply: she isn’t angry. She isn’t crumbling, or trying to convince us that she was telling the truth. We can choose to believe her, we can choose not to. She doesn’t care; but she does care about finding a way to move on – and that involves waving goodbye to her bitterness. This narrative is one that’s previously been missing in the myriad of think-pieces, interviews and debates on rape. Fury has been the emotion fuelling the fire – and that’s no bad thing. We do need anger. It’s what drove women to campaign for the first statutory definition of rape in 1976; it’s what pushed women to lobby for the marital rape exemption to be abolished in 1991. And that anger is still propelling us: in recent years, horror at the creeping prevalence of online pornography and the messages it subtly teaches boys about girls, has led to consent being discussed in classrooms around the country. Righteous fury at the men who force themselves onto and into women’s bodies simply because they want to – and simply because they can – is good for us. It was good for me. Becoming angry at the man who assaulted me was an essential part of getting better. If I hadn’t done that I’d still be blaming myself.

But it was also bad for me. Following my assault at university, I battled depression and post-traumatic stress disorder for years before eventually dropping out. It was my life that was  plunged into uncertainty, not his. Celebrating resilience – and showing women that it’s possible to rebuild their lives is essential

So often, this is how sexual violence plays out: the assailant gets to walk away unscathed, while the victim struggles with flashbacks, anxiety and depression. Eventually I realized that if I didn’t want my mental health to be the death of me, I’d have to change how I was looking at what happened. I’m not talking about forgiveness, nor am I talking about making apologies for my attacker. I’m talking about understanding that my assailant clearly didn’t grasp the concept of consent – and hoping that he does now. That small seed helped me shift a little of that bitterness and start working towards getting better. I wouldn’t wish what I went through as a teenager on anybody. But I came out the other side a stronger person and, as Kesha sings in her song, I am proud of that. Celebrating resilience – and showing women that it’s possible to rebuild their lives – is essential. Recovery is just as important to talk about as inadequate sentencing, consent and a culture that to often still prioritizes assailants over victims. Kesha has reframed that conversation and, from one survivor to another, I’m grateful to her for that.
— article courtesy of The Telegraph UK

Sexual Assault Victims Deserve Justice

Sexual Assault Victims Deserve Justice


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)


Denim Day 2017

denim day 2017

2017 Photos

denim sart 1

denim stella 1

Florida IAFN President

Elections were recently held for the 2017 Florida International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) board. Elizabeth Marlow, RN, SANE-A, who serves as an on-call sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) for Palm Beach County Victim Services & Certified Rape Crisis Center was voted president-elect.

“I’m honored to be chosen among my peers for this position,” Elizabeth said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on as many activities as possible to further promote forensic nursing.” As a sexual assault forensic nurse, Elizabeth specializes in the education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of a victim who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

IAFN, which is divided into U.S. state chapters, is an international membership organization comprised of forensic nurses working around the world and other professionals who support and complement the work of forensic nursing. The chapter president-elect, in the absence or disability of the president, performs the duties and has the authority to exercise the powers of the FL IAFN president.

In preparing for her first Florida IAFN chapter meeting of 2017, Elizabeth will learn more about the responsibility and tasks of her new position and start planning the 2017 state conference. Topics expected to be addressed include skills verification, giving court testimony and peer review of the medical-forensic records.

As a SANE, Elizabeth collaborates with other disciplines in the community such as law enforcement, crime lab personnel, child protection,  attorneys, and directly with Palm Beach County Victim Services advocates, who all provide unique and compassionate, victim-centered services to sexual assault victims. Congratulations!

Elizabeth Marlow

Elizabeth Marlow, RN, SANE-A

Faces of Human Trafficking


The Office for Victims of Crime presents a 9-part video series to raise awareness of human trafficking called Faces of Human Trafficking.

“The series is intended to be used for outreach and education efforts of service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and others in the community. The series includes information about sex and labor trafficking, multidisciplinary approaches to serving victims of human trafficking, effective victim services, victims’ legal needs, and voices of survivors.

Accompanying the video series is a discussion guide, four OVC Fact Sheets, and four posters that can be used to augment trainings and generate discussion. Download the complete Discussion Guide or the sections associated with each video below.”

Below is a preview video for the series:


For the full list of videos, please visit the OVC link

information courtesy of the Office for Victims of Crime

Human Trafficking Red Flags


Recognizing the signs:

The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs. If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation.

Common Work and Living Conditions:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health:

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control:

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

information courtesy of the National Human Trafficking Hotline


National Human Trafficking Awareness Day


National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on January 11.

Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

But what IS Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.

Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels,  escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.

Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.

If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation.


If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.



Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

SANEs play a vital role in our community by providing victim-centered, trauma informed nursing care to victims of sexual assault while also collecting evidence and working with the judicial system to bring perpetrators to justice.

Palm Beach County Victim Services has a team of nine SANEs who are on call 24/7 to provide sexual assault forensic examinations to victims of sexual assault. PBC SANEs have responded to over 240 victims of sexual assault this year.

In celebration of Forensic Nurses Week 2016, PBC SANEs were recognized with a certificate of appreciation, a personalized portfolio and a SANE hand-bag during a lunch and learn event on November 10, 2016. One SANE described the event by saying, “Being appreciated and gaining invaluable education at the same time, all while brainstorming with other local SANEs–couldn’t ask for a better Forensic Nurses Week! Thank you!”


WPTV News Channel 5 featured a piece on the #NotOkay movement on Twitter. Palm Beach County Victim Service’s Outreach Coordinator, Sharon Daugherty, shared information about the movement and where victim’s can go for support.


(Click the photo for the full video and article)

Palm Beach County Victim Services (PBCDVS) can be found on Twitter:



Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

On October 25, 2016, Palm Beach County Victim Services joined Lynn University students for the annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event. Students and community members honored victims of sexual assault and domestic violence by walking in high heels.


What is Walk a Mile in Her Shoes?

Put Yourself in Her Shoes™

Each year, an ever-increasing number of men, women and their families are joining the award-winning Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.

First You Walk the Walk

There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and men’s sexualized violence against women.

Then You Talk the Talk

It’s critical to open communication about sexualized violence. While hidden away, sexualized violence is immune to cure. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get people talking. People unfamiliar with men’s sexualized violence against women don’t want to know it exists. It’s ugly. People that have experienced sexualized violence themselves want to forget about it. How do you get people talking now, so they can prevent it from happening? And if it’s already happened, how do you help them recover.

— information courtesy of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes